Sunrise Children's Hospital
For more than three decades, Sunrise Children’s Hospital has been Nevada’s largest, most comprehensive children’s hospital.

Exploring the link between pediatric obesity and type 2 diabetes

Posted on 11/19/2017

A child’s health is always a top priority for parents. The choices you make for your child every day can make a big difference in his or her health over time. Here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, we’ve made it our life’s work to empower parents to make health-conscious decisions for their family. If you have any questions about your child’s nutrition or physical activity, or need diabetes education, our friendly pediatric specialists are here to help.

How obesity contributes to diabetes

The accompanying video features a pediatric specialist at Sunrise Children’s Hospital. He discusses the link between obesity and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is sometimes referred to as adult-onset diabetes.

About half of all children who are overweight or obese will have some type of glucose intolerance, according to our pediatric doctor. Glucose intolerance includes prediabetes, impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance.

Research is ongoing, but doctors have identified a couple of ways in which obesity may contribute to the risk of glucose intolerance and diabetes. Obesity can cause:

  • Changes in metabolism

  • Systemic inflammation that disrupts insulin responsive cells

Why diabetes is a serious disease

Type 2 diabetes was once diagnosed most commonly in older adults. Now, it’s a problem that is increasingly affecting children. Even if an overweight or obese child doesn’t develop diabetes in childhood, he or she may have a higher risk of developing it later in life.

Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to life-threatening complications, especially if it’s poorly managed. Patients with diabetes have a higher risk of:

  • Heart disease

  • Nerve damage

  • Kidney disease

  • Loss of vision

  • Hearing impairment

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Foot amputation

How childhood obesity can be treated

As troubling as the effects of diabetes and obesity are, these diseases are treatable and preventable. If you’re concerned about your child’s weight or nutrition, you can rely on a pediatrician to provide trustworthy, practical guidance. Here are a few easy suggestions that may help.

  • Give your child water and milk instead of soda and fruit juice

  • Never reward good behavior with food

  • Ask your child to help you plan and prepare healthy meals

  • Go for walks or bike rides as a family

  • Increase your child’s intake of fiber

Young patients at Sunrise Children’s Hospital receive personalized attention from our clinical dietitians. We offer comprehensive nutrition and diabetes education for our patients and their parents. Get in touch with a registered nurse at our children’s hospital in Las Vegas by calling (702) 233-5437.

How will cancer treatment shape your child's future health?

Posted on 11/10/2017

Cancer affects children differently than adults. Fortunately, survival rates have gone up, thanks to the tireless work of pediatric cancer researchers and the cancer care specialists at Sunrise Children’s Hospital. Because of those increased survival rates, more attention is being given to the way in which cancer treatments may affect children in the years to come.

The late effects of cancer treatment
Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and cancer surgery can all cause side effects and complications. When these issues arise months or years after the patient is done receiving treatment, they are called late effects. Not all pediatric cancer patients will experience the same late effects, or the same severity of symptoms.

The late effects of the eyes
The children who experience late effects of the eyes are most often those who were treated for retinoblastomas, which is a cancer of the retina. The cancer itself has the potential to eliminate vision in an eye, which isn’t reversible. Depending on the specific treatment, the late effects of the eyes can include the following:

  • Cataracts
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Glaucoma
  • Dry, watery or irritated eyes
  • Poor vision or poor night vision
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Sensitivity to light

The late effects of the brain
Late effects of the brain can affect children who were treated for brain tumors or other cancers, such as acute lymphocytic leukemia. It’s possible for chemotherapy and radiation therapy targeted at the head area to adversely affect brain development. This can contribute to learning impairments, such as:

  • Inhibited memory and attention
  • Lower academic achievement
  • Lower IQ scores

These late effects are more common in children who received both chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

The late effects of muscle and bone
Radiation therapy can delay the development of a child’s muscles and bones, especially if the child is going through a growth spurt at the time of the treatment. The late effects can include:

  • Stunted bone growth
  • Bone pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Weakened bones
  • Higher risk of fractures
  • Changes in gait
  • Asymmetrical growth
Pediatric Oncology and Special Services at Sunrise Children’s Hospital offer high-tech solutions and high-touch care for families in Las Vegas when they need it most. Nothing is more important to us than the health and happiness of your child, which is why we provide superior, family-centered care that works for you. Call a registered nurse at (702) 233-5437 to request a referral.

What are the risk factors for pediatric stroke?

Posted on 11/7/2017

Stroke can affect anyone, regardless of age. In older adults, a stroke is often linked to risk factors like atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, diabetes and tobacco use. Very young stroke patients haven’t had time yet to acquire lifestyle risk factors like smoking, and so pediatric specialists will look for other possible risk factors. Regardless of the cause, pediatric stroke always requires emergency care, and the team at Sunrise Children’s Hospital is here 24/7, every day of the year to save the lives of our young patients.

Maternal health risk factors
It’s possible for some maternal health issues to increase the risk of ischemic stroke in pediatric patients, either before or after birth. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Substance abuse
  • Infections
  • Preeclampsia

Placental abruption and the premature rupture of the membranes are other risk factors for pediatric stroke.

Genetic and congenital risk factors
Children can inherit genetic medical conditions from their parents. A congenital problem is one that is present at birth. Some risk factors that fall into one of these categories include the following:

  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Hemophilia
  • Immune disorders

Acquired health risk factors
Infants and young children are susceptible to a range of medical issues, including some that may increase the risk of pediatric stroke. However, parents should know that just because their child has one or more risk factors, stroke isn’t inevitable. These risk factors include the following:

  • Meningitis
  • Chickenpox
  • Dehydration
  • Arterial injuries
  • Head injury that causes trauma to a blood vessel
  • Aneurysm

Pediatric stroke signs and symptoms
Knowing the risk factors of pediatric stroke is only the first step toward safeguarding a child’s health. Parents of children who may be at an elevated risk should know the warning signs to watch out for, which are different from stroke symptoms in adults.

Newborns and infants may display:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Use of only one side of the body
  • Seizures

Older children and teens may have:

  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Unusual sleepiness
  • Severe headache
  • Loss of coordination and balance

A suspicion of pediatric stroke warrants an immediate call to a 911 dispatcher.

The Las Vegas area’s largest children’s Emergency Room is located at Sunrise Children’s Hospital. Our emergency care doctors, nurses and specialists are specially trained to meet the unique needs of pediatric patients. Call 911 if your child is having a medical emergency, or, for non-emergent inquiries, call a friendly nurse at (702) 233-5437.

Answers to common parent questions about orthopedic care

Posted on 10/30/2017

When an orthopedic patient is a child, the condition affects the whole family. That’s why we take a family-centered, personalized approach here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. You can meet one of our pediatric orthopedic surgeons when you watch the accompanying video. He explains how he responds when parents ask him how he would treat his own child.

Which orthopedic conditions commonly affect children?
Pediatric patients can sustain broken bones and ligament strains just like adults. However, there are a number of orthopedic issues that can affect kids.

  • Clubfoot
  • Infant hip dysplasia
  • Scoliosis
  • Gait disorders
  • Juvenile arthritis
  • Growth plate injuries

How is orthopedic care different for young patients?
Contrary to the prevailing thought in centuries past, children aren’t “little adults.” They have a dynamic, constantly developing musculoskeletal system that requires a specialized approach to treatment. Children are also prone to developing orthopedic problems that don’t affect adults, such as greenstick fractures (when a child’s bone bends and breaks slightly).

Because of the dynamic nature of a child’s musculoskeletal system, orthopedists who specialize in pediatrics are uniquely qualified to treat these young patients. Some orthopedic conditions require observance and care, with the understanding that a growing body can correct certain issues over time.

Other orthopedic issues do require intervention to promote proper development. Pediatric specialists prefer to deliver nonsurgical treatment to their young patients whenever possible. If surgery is indicated, every precaution will be taken to safeguard the health of the child during the procedure.

Should I get a second opinion?
Parents should always feel free to seek a second opinion, and good orthopedic surgeons will always welcome the idea. Some situations in which parents may want a second opinion include the following:

  • Rare diagnosis
  • Complex or serious diagnosis
  • Complex treatment recommendations

Additionally, parents may want a second opinion simply to become better informed about their child’s diagnosis and treatment options. Talking things over with another pediatric specialist can help parents understand the situation better.

Sunrise Children’s Hospital is a modern medical center in Las Vegas that is designed to comfort children—from admittance to discharge. We even provide tricycles and motorized cars, so that our young patients can “drive” themselves to surgery. A registered nurse is available to speak with parents 24/7 at (702) 233-5437.

Finding the right care for a high-risk pregnancy

Posted on 10/26/2017

High-risk pregnancies require attentive prenatal care to support the health of mother and baby. There are many factors that can place a pregnancy in this category, including maternal health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and autoimmune disease. Although the idea of having a high-risk pregnancy is troubling, many similarly affected women are able to have healthy pregnancies and babies, thanks to the exceptional care at Sunrise Children’s Hospital.

Scheduling a preconception health appointment
Women who have chronic medical conditions and those who have previously had a high-risk pregnancy can benefit from a preconception health visit. Doctors can help women plan the healthiest possible pregnancy by:

  • Getting medical conditions under control
  • Reviewing current medications and making any necessary changes
  • Providing healthy weight counseling
  • Providing substance abuse treatment referrals (including smoking cessation)

Depending on their specific medical issues and lifestyle challenges, at-risk women who are planning a pregnancy may benefit from talking to any of the following specialists:

  • Registered dieticians
  • Endocrinologists
  • Physical therapists
  • Mental health providers
  • Cardiologists

Undergoing additional prenatal tests
During a pregnancy that’s considered high risk, women are often advised to undergo additional diagnostic tests and health screenings. They can also expect to schedule more frequent prenatal care visits with the obstetrician. Some of the tests and exams might include:

  • Targeted ultrasound
  • Amniocentesis
  • Chorionic villus sampling
  • Cervical length measurement
  • Biophysical profile

Choosing the right maternity hospital
Generally, doctors caution women against choosing home birth if they or their babies are at an increased risk of health problems. At a maternity hospital, families have access to 24/7, dedicated triage services, highly trained obstetricians and an attentive nursing staff. Expecting mothers can feel reassured to know that their baby has access to a world-class NICU, if needed.

Knowing when to call the doctor
Expecting moms may need to call their doctors or seek emergency care if they notice any potential signs of a serious problem during pregnancy. An obstetrician can provide a list of symptoms and guidance on what to do. Some of these may include:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Changes in vision
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Lower abdominal pain or cramping

Expecting mothers with a high-risk pregnancy need dependable, family-centered care they can count on to provide the best possible outcome for themselves and their babies. That’s why so many families in Las Vegas choose BIRTH Center at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, which features a fully staffed Level III NICU. A registered nurse is here to help—call (702) 233-5437.

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