2100 Clinch Avenue # 140, Knoxville, TN 37916     865-971-7400     Knox County

Pediatric Endocrinology

About Pediatric Endocrinology

The Pediatric Endocrinology Department at East Tennessee Children's Hospital treats children with growth, puberty, diabetes or other hormone and gland disorders. The endocrine glands release hormones into your child's bloodstream that make him grow and change.

The most common problems pediatric endocrinologists treat are:
Growth problems
Early or delayed puberty
Enlarged thyroid gland
Issues with the pituitary or adrenal glands
Ovarian and testicular dysfunction
Low blood sugar

Endocrine System Diagram

Childhood Diabetes

One of the hormones that require endocrinologists' attention is insulin. This hormone moves food energy from the blood into muscle, fat and liver cells. When your child does not have enough insulin or becomes resistant to it, he can develop diabetes. This disease requires lifelong management by your family, your child and your doctors. At East Tennessee Children's Hospital, we have a diabetes education team that includes dieticians, nurse educators and social workers to assist patients with their ongoing diabetes care.

The most common symptoms of diabetes are:
Increased thirst and frequent urination
Extreme hunger
Weight loss
Irritability or unusual behavior
Blurred vision
Yeast infection

Baby Tested for Diabetes A diabetes diagnosis may seem overwhelming. Your child's endocrinologist can create a plan to manage diabetes that works best for your child's lifestyle.

The diabetes management plan may include:
Insulin pumps or injections
Continuous glucose monitors
Changes in diet
Regular exercise
Blood sugar monitoring

Unmonitored diabetes can be very harmful for your child. In the long-term, it can cause blindness, kidney failure, amputations and increased risk of heart attack.

Doctor Checks Child for Thyroid Problems

Pediatric Thyroid Problems

The thyroid gland is located in your neck. It affects your metabolism. A pediatric endocrinologist may discover that your child's thyroid is producing too little thyroid hormone. This condition is called hypothyroidism.

In newborns, hypothyroidism's symptoms are:
Hoarse cry
Poor appetite
Slow bone growth

In children and adolescents, hypothyroidism's symptoms are:
Slow growth
Delayed puberty
Slow speech
Droopy eyelids
Weight gain
Dry skin
Slow pulse

Your doctor will complete a blood test on your child to determine if he has hypothyroidism. Without treatment, hypothyroidism can result in intellectual disability and heart failure. Treatment can include hormone treatment and medication to boost hormone levels. Your pediatric endocrinologist will continually test your child's levels and adjust medication as needed.

Thyroid Gland Diagram When your child's thyroid produces too many hormones, he may develop hyperthyroidism, or Graves' disease.

His metabolism will be overactive, which may result in:
Small birth weight
Poor weight gain
Enlarged liver and spleen
High blood pressure
Difficulty sleeping

Your doctor will measure the amount of thyroid hormone in your child's bloodstream to determine if your child has hyperthyroidism. Treatments include medication to block the production of thyroid hormones and decrease heart rate.

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