What is pediatric endocrinology ?
Endocrinology is the science of hormones. Hormones ensure that all organs necessary for human growth, development and survival work in harmony with each other. Each of them is secreted from its own unique glands. Endocrine diseases occur when these glands do not develop, do not form at all, work less than necessary or work overtime or work irregularly. Different types of hormones control reproduction, metabolism, growth and development. Hormones also control our response to our environment and help provide the proper amount of energy and nutrients required for our body’s functions.
The Pediatric Endocrinologist mainly deals with hormonal disorders that occur during childhood and adolescence (0-19 years). It follows the healthy growth of the child, the emergence and healthy progress of puberty in normal time, and finally, its safe transition to adulthood. It deals with the diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents with hormonal disorders from birth to the end of 18 years.
What are the most common endocrine diseases and disorders in childhood and adolescence?
It follows healthy growth from birth. It monitors children born with low birth weight and short birth size and supports them in catching up with their healthy peers. It examines and treats disorders that occur in growth stages. Short stature can be familial or structural, or it may reflect hormonal deficiencies or another disease. Pediatric Endocrinology examines and treats all possibilities that cause the child to be short.
If short stature is due to growth hormone deficiency, it should be treated immediately. Loss of time may result in less height gain. In fact, young people whose growth plate is closed may have completely lost the chance of growth hormone treatment.
Tall Strature; It should be followed in children who are a little taller than their peers as well as short stature.
Although there are individual differences, early childhood begins between the ages of 11-12 in children, girls and between 12 and 13 years in boys. Sometimes, although it starts at this age, puberty can quickly be completed within 12-18 months, which is considered to be a rapidly progressing adolescence. In terms of health, the condition that causes premature puberty should be unearthed and treated if there is a disease that needs to be treated.
If there are still no signs of puberty in girls and boys at the age of 14
Delayed puberty: It should be accepted as delayed puberty and the underlying cause should be investigated.
The underlying cause of other problems during adolescence is usually hormonal. For this reason, Pediatric Endocrinologist deals with excessive hair growth in adolescence, breast problems, all kinds of menstrual problems of girls, Polycystic Ovary (until the age of 18).
Hypothyroidism / Hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism is defined as the thyroid gland producing less or no hormone than it should be, popularly known as goiter. Thyroid hormone is a very important hormone that has effects such as intelligence development, height growth, bone development and acceleration of metabolism.
The condition caused by the production of more thyroid hormone than normal and its introduction into the blood is called hyperthyroidism. Pediatric Endocrinologists are also trained to treat thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, and enlarged thyroid tissue (goiter). They watch all children in their family who have a history of Thyroid or Goiter.
Sexual Differentiation Problems
When the baby is born, it is a developmental disorder that cannot be exactly called a girl or a boy at first glance. It is noticed by the Neonatal or Pediatrician in children born in hospital. However, it may go unnoticed or become obvious afterwards.
In boys, it is important if the testicle is not observed in the sac, does not urinate from the tip of the penis or the penis is observed too small. In girls, if a very small urinary tract opening or especially small swelling in both groins is observed, it is evaluated by a Pediatric Endocrine specialist before surgery.
Childhood Diabetes (Type 1 Diabetes)
It can occur at any age from newborn to young adulthood. Delay in treatment causes symptoms to progress to coma and death. Treatment is possible for life and with insulin alone. These children and adolescents should be treated and closely monitored by a Pediatric Endocrine specialist until they become young adults.
Type 2 diabetes seen in childhood is also treated and closely monitored by a Pediatric Endocrine specialist.
Even in childhood, the energy that is taken in excess or not used enough is stored in the body and causes obesity. Although this excess energy constitutes the majority of childhood obesity, sometimes the child may become susceptible to weight gain due to a hormonal disease that causes excess weight, and some genetic diseases that are congenital and with several diseases.
A pediatric Endocrine specialist who investigates the prime causes of obesity, treats it in cases where treatment is required and follows the negativities caused by obesity itself.
Rickets / Bone Health: Insufficient intake of vitamin D or insufficient bone mineralization due to congenital metabolic diseases of vitamin D causes the disease called rickets. Rickets, osteoporosis and other metabolic diseases of bone are among the areas of interest of pediatric endocrine.
Hormones released from the adrenal gland: It is effective on the heart, Arterial Blood Pressure (endocrine-induced hypertension), stress / excitement tolerance, sex, and reproduction. Pediatric Endocrinology specialists deal with adrenal gland hormone diseases congenital or acquired in childhood.