Definition: Defining the Meaning of Pediatrics
Pediatrics (also spelled paediatrics) is defined as the branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents, and the age limit usually ranges from birth up to 18 years of age. The smaller body of an infant or neonate is substantially different physiologically from that of an adult. Congenital defects, genetic variance, and developmental issues are of greater concern to pediatricians than they often are to adult physicians.
There are a number of health concerns children face in the world today. The most common chronic childhood disease today is tooth decay. Children may face health issues that include ADHD, Arthritis, Asthma or Allergies, Autism, Blindness or Deafness. There are several chronic childhood diseases children may experience. Diabetes can affect children. Ear infections are a common childhood malady. Some children are born with birth defects, and some develop heart conditions. Newborn screening is an issue that parents need to be aware of, as well as childhood obesity. There are also a number of different skin conditions that children may experience.
Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition of the brain. ADHD affects a child's behavior and is one of the most common, chronic behavioral conditions found in children. Nearly all children have periodic behavioral issues, but children who have ADHD experience consistent and severe issues that interfere with their life. There are treatment options available to help children with ADHD.
One estimate suggests that nearly 294,000 children who are younger than eighteen have Pediatric Arthritis and Rheumatologic conditions such as Polyarticular Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA). Other forms of Pediatric Arthritis include Pauciarticular Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Onset Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, There are several additional forms of Arthritis that can affect both girls and boys.
Asthma and Allergies are among the most common of chronic childhood diseases children experience. Five million American children are affected by Asthma alone, causing them to miss out on sports, school and additional activities. Recognition and understanding of asthma and allergy, 'Triggers,' in children who are affected by Asthma and Allergies is important. Knowing what triggers an asthma attack or allergic reaction in a child can prevent an attack. It is also important for family members to understand the medications a child is taking and help to manage their symptoms.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a group of brain disorders that are related. ASD affect children's social and communication skills, as well as their behavior. About one in 66 children are diagnosed with some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Education regarding Autism is essential to the care of a child with ASD.
Blindness and Deafness
The fourth most common disability among children in America involves a Vision disorder. Vision disorders are the leading cause of impaired conditions in childhood. According to recent studies, only twenty-one percent of all preschool children are being screened for vision problems; a mere fourteen percent receive any form of comprehensive vision examination.
Hearing disability is another health concern among children. The most common congenital condition in America is hearing loss. Thirty-three infants are born each day with some level of hearing loss in the United States.
Common Childhood Illnesses
There are several illnesses commonly experienced during childhood, with symptoms that range from mild to serious. Children may contact a virus or infection, experience vomiting, or develop a fever. Children get nose bleeds at times, or car sickness. They may also catch a common cold. Children also develop things such as Croup, Sinusitis, Bronchiolitis, Tonsillitis, or may experience Febrile Seizures.
Children may be affected by Diabetes Type 1 or Type 2, which can occur at any time - even during their first year of life. Infants and toddlers with Diabetes often have a diagnosis that is delayed because their symptoms are not specific. The diagnosis may not come until the child is very sick because of the vague symptoms. Diabetes prevents the child's body from turning glucose into the energy it needs; their body does not process food through the production of enough insulin.
Millions of children visit doctors each year as a result of ear infections, which are common in young children. Acute Otitis Media (AOM) involves inflammation and intense symptoms and signs of infection; it is the most common bacterial illness doctors prescribe antibacterial medications for in America. Otitis Media Effusion (OME) is still more common, with ninety-percent of all children experiencing OME prior to school age; usually between six months and four years of age. Children who have had colds or viral infections experience OME, which usually clears up on its own.
Birth Defects and Genetics
Although most children are born without any medical problems or birth defects, some are born with body chemistry, body structure, or brain development differences. These differences may lead to difficulties with the child's development, health, school performance, or social interactions. The field of Pediatric Genetics is involved in the identification of both the causes and the natural history of genetic disorders in children. Pediatric Geneticists help families to identify and manage their child's health care needs in children with genetic disorders.
Children may face various heart health issues. High blood pressure, rapid heart beat, heart murmurs, and other heart issues are something parents need to be aware of. Conditions such as Duchenne or Becker Muscular Dystrophy are others that a physician can assist a parent in understanding more fully. There are Pediatric Cardiovascular Centers available to assist parents with children who have heart conditions.
There are bacteria and viruses found in the human environment nearly everywhere, and the human body is able to protect us most of the time against these things. At times we do need hospital care when a form of bacteria or a virus has attacked our immune system, causing illness. Some of the things that may require hospital care include flu, Rotavirus, Hepatitis B and C, Kawasaki Disease, and Lyme Disease. Others include RSV, Whooping Cough, Meningococcal Disease, and Tuberculosis.
Shortly after a child is born in America, they are screened for a number of different genetic disorders. Conditions such as Mental Retardation, or even the death of the child, may be prevented by performing Newborn Screening. The screening involves using heel stick blood spot samples which are submitted to a laboratory for testing. The child's parents are notified if there is either a problem, or if the test needs to be done again. Currently, the different States in America run Newborn Screening programs. There is an effort underway to establish a national consensus on the types and number of disorders screened for, as well as the guidelines and procedures used in Newborn Screening programs.
Children and adolescents who are overweight or obese risk a number of different health problems including Asthma, Sleep Apnea, Joint Pain, and Skin Infections. Additional health risks to children who are overweight or obese include Diabetes Type 2 and Hypertension. Childhood Obesity can present immediate health problems, as well as lead to chronic health issues. Children who are overweight or obese may experience depression, low self esteem, and lower self confidence than other children.
Children and adolescents may experience many different skin conditions. Skin conditions such as diaper rash and infections, dry skin, and hives are common. Children may contact lice, or develop eczema, or get sunburned. Insect bites and pimples are something that many young people experience. Skin cancer is something that affects a number of children.
Childhood Cancer Awareness
The childhood cancer awareness ribbon is gold in color. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time to honor and remember children and families affected by these rare diseases. International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day was on 3rd February in 2015.
Childhood Cancer Types - Thomas C. Weiss - (2009-02-02)
Quick Facts: Quick Pediatric
- Stroke can occur before birth, in infants, children and young adults. Risk of stroke is highest in the first year of life and peaks during the perinatal period (a few weeks before and after birth).
- A child who favors one hand, leaves the other hand in a fist or doesn't bring both hands together during play needs to be referred to an early intervention program and a pediatric neurologist for further testing.
- Of the 12,000 babies in the United States born annually with some form of hearing loss, only half exhibit a risk factor - meaning that if only high-risk infants are screened, half of the infants with some form of hearing loss will not be tested and identified.
- Until the 1990s, children born with permanent hearing loss typically would not have been identified and diagnosed until 2.5 to 3 years of age. Since the initiation of newborn hearing screening and EHDI programs, the average age of hearing loss identification has decreased to 2-3 months of age.
Statistics: U.S. Childhood Cancer
- Childhood cancer rates have been rising slightly for the past few decades.
- Childhood cancers make up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed each year.
- About 10,380 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2015.
- Because of major treatment advances in recent decades, more than 80% of children with cancer now survive 5 years or more.
- Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children (after accidents). About 1,250 children younger than 15 years old are expected to die from cancer in 2015.