Pediatric Medicine

Pediatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children, and teenagers. Pediatricians are specialists in this area. Most pediatricians subspecialize further in order to treat specific age groups (for example, newborns).

Differences Between Adult And Pediatric Medicine

Physiological Considerations

There are physiological differences between children and adults that go beyond their size. 

Children continue to grow and develop throughout their lives. 

Children’s bodies and minds undergo dramatic changes at certain points in their development, which has a significant impact on how their medical care should be provided. 

In terms of pain management or healing time, treating an injury on a child will require some different procedures from treating an injury on an adult.

Developmental Focus

Pediatrics focuses on easing and safeguarding the development of children since they are constantly growing. 

This includes preparing them physically and mentally for the changes that will occur as they age and ensuring they receive the preventative treatments they need. 

For example, vaccinations are administered at certain ages to prevent certain diseases. 

Vaccines are of less importance to adults, and are usually reserved for instances in which they are necessary, such as when traveling abroad or preventing tetanus after an injury.

However, children can get a variety of nasty diseases that could permanently harm them, so it is important that they get vaccinated.


Your child may encounter issues that require professional assistance as they develop. 

It could be as simple as a passing illness, or it may be a chronic condition that affects their health well into adulthood. 

Pediatricians are trained to recognize signs of long-term health issues and treat them appropriately, thus preventing further problems.

Continuity Of Care

Continuity is crucial with any physician, but it’s even more crucial with children’s doctors.

Continuity of care means that your child’s doctor knows his or her unique needs and has a comprehensive record of past treatment. 

Your pediatrician will be able to offer specialized care so that your son or daughter can successfully navigate the unique challenges that he or she will face and grow into a healthy adult.

Continuity of care is also important for an adult physician, but an incomplete medical record might not have the same long-term impact as it would on a child. 

Adult care focuses less on development and more on maintaining health.

Conditions Pediatricians Treat

Asthma & Allergy

All children can become allergic, but children from families with a history of allergy are more likely to become allergic. 

Some children inherit the tendency to become allergic from their parents, but not all develop an active allergic disease. 

Allergies can manifest in different ways in children, including:

  • Asthma
  • Food allergies
  • Skin rashes

Among children, asthma is one of the leading causes of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and missed school days. 

Even though childhood asthma cannot be cured, and symptoms may persist into adulthood, you and your child can control symptoms and prevent lung damage by taking the right steps.

The first step is to get your child seen by our pediatric allergy/immunology team.

When you visit the clinic, we will conduct a detailed medical examination and consultation in order to develop a unique care plan for your child.

From there, we coordinate with your child’s primary care provider, school nurse, and others that need to be involved in your child’s allergy or asthma care.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a group of chronic disorders that affect a child’s ability to control their body movement and posture. 

These disorders occur when the motor areas of the developing brain are damaged during pregnancy or shortly after birth. 

During a child’s first year, symptoms are not always evident.

In the United States., cerebral palsy affects between two and six infants out of every 1,000 births. 

When a child has mild cerebral palsy, he or she may only have a limp or an uncoordinated walk, but a child with severe cases will need care and supervision the rest of their lives. 

Many infants born with cerebral palsy also have some degree of mental retardation and/or seizures.

Our pediatric neurology team treats a wide range of nervous system diseases and disorders in children, including cerebral palsy.

Childhood Diabetes

Most children develop type 1 diabetes, in which the immune system destroys the cells that produce insulin and the body stops producing insulin. 

Children must receive insulin injections to survive. 

Children can also be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, although it is more common in adults. 

Type 2 diabetes is generally caused by inactivity and excess calorie consumption, and can be treated with pills and/or insulin as well as a healthy diet and exercise plan. 

Children with type 2 typically develop the disease after the age of 10 and often have a family history of it.

Childhood Diabetes Symptoms

Children with type 1 and type 2 diabetes experience excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue and dehydration. 

Type 1 diabetes can also be accompanied by abdominal pain and vomiting that may indicate a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.

Childhood Diabetes Treatment

Diabetes in childhood cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. 

There are teams that specialize in treating pediatric diabetes, and use specialized equipment such as glucose sensors, insulin pumps and retinal eye screenings in order to monitor a patient’s condition.

They can develop a unique care plan to help you and your child manage pediatric diabetes. 

Special events and support group meetings can also be found that can help you and your child by providing resources and support.

Support groups can also provide guidance and advice towards helping you and your child cooperate with their school.

Childhood Obesity

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than doubled among children and tripled among adolescents in the past 30 years. 

More than one third of children and adolescents were obese in 2010.

  • The term overweight refers to excess body weight for a particular height, which can be caused by fat, muscle, bone, or water
  • A person who is obese has excess body fat

“Caloric imbalance” occurs when a person consumes more calories than they expel. 

It is influenced by a number of genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors, and can lead to overweight and obesity. 

Children and adolescents who are obese long-term are likely to become obese as adults and are at risk for adult-onset diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

Prevention And Treatment Of Childhood Obesity

Our endocrinology team treats a wide range of endocrine disorders in children who are overweight or obese. 

As well as lifestyle habits and dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents, they examine medical and genetic disorders that may contribute to weight gain, such as diabetes.

Genetic Disorders & Down Syndrome

A child with Down syndrome faces lifelong mental and physical challenges. It is caused by 

Down syndrome can cause a variety of developmental problems.

These problems vary in severity depending on the severity of Down syndrome.

The most common genetic cause of learning disabilities in children is Down syndrome. 

Researchers know that Down syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome, but they don’t know exactly why it occurs or how many factors could contribute to it.

Treatment Of Genetic Disorders

There is no cure for Down syndrome. 

Children and babies with Down syndrome will benefit from early intervention in their physical and intellectual development. 

Our pediatric genetic disorders team treats patients with Down Syndrome in order to learn more about how to promote the health and wellbeing of children by preventing birth defects, developmental disabilities, and other unique conditions.

Seizure Disorders

A seizure is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. 

During a seizure, your child might:

  • Have abnormal sensations or emotions
  • Have convulsions (abnormal jerking of the muscles)
  • Lose consciousness
  • Stare into space

A seizure does not mean that your child has epilepsy. 

Epilepsy is usually diagnosed after several seizures. 

Many children with epilepsy outgrow the condition; however, even mild seizures should be reported to your child’s pediatrician for treatment.

Our pediatric neurology team treats a wide range of neurological diseases and disorders in children who suffer from seizures.

Sickle Cell Disease

called sickle cell anemia or simply “sickle cell.” 

Patients with sickle hemoglobin (HbS) develop rigid, sticky, crescent-shaped cells that clog or close small blood vessels. 

This clogging leads to episodes of pain, tissue death and serious complications depending on which of your child’s organs is involved.

Sickle Cell Disease is more common in the African American population.

Sickle Cell Disease can be seen in other ethnic groups, however.

Other such ethnic groups include the Middle East, Central India, and countries bordering the Mediterranean, like Italy and Greece.

Treatment of Sickle Cell Disease

There is no cure for Sickle Cell Disease, but there are very effective treatments in order to help your child manage their symptoms.

Children with Sickle Cell Disease must undergo regular medical care by a hematologist (a specialist in blood diseases).

There are hematologists who specialize in treating diseases in children and adolescents.

Pediatric Medicine Frequently Asked Questions

Pediatrics derives from the Greek words pais, which refers to children, and iatros, which means doctor and healer. 

Thus, pediatricians are doctors that treat children.

Devices used in pediatric medicine treat or diagnose diseases and conditions in children up to 21 years old. 

According to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), pediatric patients are defined as persons under 21 years of age at the time of diagnosis or treatment.

Pediatricians provide preventive care as well as diagnosis and treatment of infections, injuries, and diseases.

Pediatricians also perform regular health and wellness checkups and conduct physical exams. 

They can also refer you to a pediatric specialist if your child has a condition that can’t be treated by a general physician.

Children and adults with sickle cell anemia die at a median age of 42 for males and 48 for females. 

For those with sickle cell-hemoglobin C disease, the median age at death was 60 years for males and 68 years for females.

A child born with sickle cell disease suffers from a blood disorder called sickle cell. 

This condition is inherited from the parents. 

Children with SCD produce an abnormal type of hemoglobin. 

It is a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.

Paleness, weakness or extreme fatigue, an enlarged spleen, and abdominal pain are all signs. 

Sickle-shaped cells can also block small blood vessels in the brain, resulting in a stroke. 

Other symptoms include headaches, seizures, weakness in the arms and legs, speech difficulties, or loss of consciousness.

People with sickle cell disease can live full lives and enjoy most of the same activities as others.

Asthma is diagnosed by the same tests used for adults. 

A spirometry test measures how much air your child can exhale and how quickly. 

A child may have lung function tests at rest, after exercising and after taking asthma medication.

Asthma usually develops during childhood, usually before the age of 5. 

Childhood asthma is the most common chronic disease in children.

Common asthma types include allergic asthma, non-allergic asthma, and cough-variant asthma.