When your child should see a Paediatric Endocrinologist
Hormones are chemicals that affect how a child grows and matures. Endocrinologists treat people who suffer from hormonal imbalances caused by overactivity or underactivity of the Endocrine glands.
If your child has problems with growth, puberty, diabetes, or other disorders related to hormones and the glands that produce them, they may be referred to a Paediatric Endocrinologist.
Paediatric Endocrinologists diagnose, treat, and manage hormonal disorders including:
- Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus
- Thyroid Disease
- Growth problems
- Early or late puberty
- Late menstruation and polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Adrenal disorders
- Pituitary disorders
- Syndromes affecting growth and fertility (Turner, Klinefelter, Prader Willi, Nooan)
- Late effects of cancer
Type 1 diabetes mellitus is the most common endocrine condition affecting children and is a lifelong chronic metabolic disorder characterised by high blood sugar (or glucose) levels in the blood called hyperglycaemia.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune response that wrongly attacks insulin-producing cells. Insulin helps keep a child’s blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycaemia) or too low (hypoglycaemia), and is a life-saving treatment in children with type 1 diabetes. Insulin can be delivered by injections or by pump and the technology is advancing rapidly.
Typically affecting older people, type 2 diabetes is being increasingly diagnosed in Australian children, however, it can be prevented and managed through diet, exercise and regular blood glucose monitoring. Children with type 2 diabetes will need oral treatment with metformin and may eventually also need insulin.
As a parent of a child with diabetes, it’s important to:
- Educate yourself about diabetes and treatment options
- Communicate with your child about how to manage their diabetes
- Know what to do in case of emergencies