Sign InSign Up
All Posts

Pediatric Endocrine Disorders

Discover the lesser-known world of pediatric endocrine disorders and explore the impact they have on children's health and development.
2023-03-10

Pediatric Endocrine Disorders

Introduction

Pediatric endocrine disorders refer to a group of medical conditions that affect the endocrine system in children. The endocrine system is responsible for regulating various bodily functions through the production and release of hormones. When there is an imbalance or dysfunction in this system, it can lead to a variety of disorders. This guide aims to provide an overview of common pediatric endocrine disorders encountered in clinical practice.

1. Diabetes Mellitus

Definition

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by elevated blood glucose levels due to impaired insulin production or action. In pediatric patients, two main types are encountered:

  • Type 1 diabetes (T1D): Autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells leading to absolute insulin deficiency.
  • Type 2 diabetes (T2D): Insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency.

Clinical Features

  • Polyuria (increased urination)
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Polyphagia (increased hunger)
  • Weight loss (despite increased appetite)
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Recurrent infections

Diagnosis

  • Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) ≥ 126 mg/dL or
  • Random plasma glucose ≥ 200 mg/dL with classic symptoms or
  • Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) ≥ 6.5% (48 mmol/mol)

Management

  • T1D: Insulin replacement therapy (multiple daily injections or insulin pump)
  • T2D: Lifestyle modifications (diet and exercise), oral hypoglycemic agents, and insulin in severe cases.

2. Congenital Hypothyroidism

Definition

Congenital hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone during the neonatal period.

Clinical Features

  • Prolonged jaundice
  • Hypotonia (poor muscle tone)
  • Large fontanelle (soft spot on the baby's head)
  • Poor feeding
  • Constipation
  • Delayed growth and development

Diagnosis

  • Newborn screening: Elevated TSH levels with low T4 levels
  • Confirmatory testing: Repeat TSH and free T4 measurements

Management

  • Levothyroxine replacement therapy for life

3. Precocious Puberty

Definition

Precocious puberty refers to the early onset of puberty before the age of 8 in girls and 9 in boys.

Clinical Features

  • Development of secondary sexual characteristics at an early age
  • Accelerated growth and bone maturation
  • Advanced skeletal age
  • Emotional and behavioral issues due to early maturation

Diagnosis

  • Physical examination
  • Bone age assessment
  • Hormonal evaluation (LH, FSH, estradiol/testosterone)

Management

  • Treatment depends on the underlying cause:
    • Central precocious puberty: Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs
    • Peripheral precocious puberty: Address the underlying pathology

4. Growth Hormone Deficiency

Definition

Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is a condition characterized by inadequate production or secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland.

Clinical Features

  • short stature (below the 3rd percentile)
  • Delayed growth and development
  • Increased adiposity (fat accumulation)
  • Hypoglycemia (rarely)
  • Micropenis in males (in severe cases)

Diagnosis

  • Growth hormone stimulation tests (e.g., insulin-induced hypoglycemia, arginine, or clonidine)
  • Low insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels

Management

  • Growth hormone replacement therapy until final height is reached

Conclusion

Pediatric endocrine disorders encompass a wide range of conditions affecting the endocrine system in children. Early recognition, accurate diagnosis, and appropriate management are essential for optimizing outcomes and ensuring the healthy growth and development of pediatric patients.

USMLE Test Prep
a StudyNova service

Support

GuidesStep 1 Sample QuestionsStep 2 Sample QuestionsStep 3 Sample QuestionsPricing

Install App coming soon

© 2024 StudyNova, Inc. All rights reserved.

TwitterYouTube