Endocrinology is a growing subspecialty in pediatrics that studies disorders of the endocrine system. Pediatric endocrinologists leverage their expertise of complex pathophysiology to foster the normal growth and development of children by regulating underlying endocrine hormone milieu. The field of pediatric endocrinology encompasses a wide spectrum of diseases that are commonly divided into two broad categories, namely conditions related to hormone abnormalities and disorders of glucose metabolism, such as type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Scientific advancements for the past few decades have contributed to immense growth in this field by making it possible for most hormones normally produced in the human body to be synthetically produced and be available for exogenous hormone replacement. For example, growth hormone, thyroid hormone, parathyroid hormone, and estrogens and testosterone are now options easily accessible for appropriate clinical scenarios. Various types of insulin preparations, oral anti-hyperglycemic agents, and technical advances in devices for blood glucose testing and insulin administration have improved diabetes care for children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus, a chronic and challenging illness that has historically been associated with high morbidity.
In this Translational Pediatrics issue, we focus on pediatric endocrinology in an effort to provide medical students, residents, primary care providers, and pediatric endocrinologists with numerous high-yield principles relevant to daily patient care and management. The topics covered span a broad array of clinical conditions across multiple age groups, ranging from infancy to young adulthood. Several articles focus on the diagnostic and therapeutic management of common endocrine conditions such as growth perturbations caused by stimulants and inhaled corticosteroid, polycystic ovarian syndrome, treatment of metabolic bone disorders, discussion about the recovery from iatrogenic adrenal insufficiency, multi-systemic syndromic diagnosis such as Prader-Willi syndrome, and issues around fertility concerns in children and adolescents undergoing therapies that may impact future fertility. In this issue, we also address the propensity for endocrine disorders to manifest in a multi-system manner, by exploring the ophthalmic and dermatologic associations of various endocrinopathies. Common and important endocrine related concerns in newborns such as disorders of sexual differentiation, thyroid function, and hypoglycemia are discussed. Several chapters detail aspects of diabetes mellitus in children, including research advancements in type 1 diabetes, psychosocial aspects of diabetes management, dietary therapy, and transition of care into adulthood. Furthermore, the emerging concern of obesity and metabolic syndrome in children and adolescents is discussed.
It is our aim that this issue educates providers at all levels of training about important concepts in the field of pediatric endocrinology.