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

Is weight loss surgery available to teens?

Posted on 9/8/2017

Good health in childhood and adolescence can help lead to better lifelong health. Unfortunately, incidence rates of obesity in teens have been increasing, which places them at risk of other chronic diseases. Bariatric surgery isn’t right for every teen, but it may help appropriate candidates get back in control of their health. Parents with concerns about their children’s weight are always welcome to talk to the pediatric specialists at Sunrise Children’s Hospital. We provide superior, family-centered care because our young patients deserve the best possible outcome.

Consequences of obesity in adolescence
Many diseases are thought to primarily affect adults, not children. But increasingly, kids are being found to have a higher risk of “adult” health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea. And according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, as much as 80 percent of kids with obesity will become adults with obesity.

There are other serious ways that obesity adversely affects teens. Teens with obesity are more likely to be the target of bullies, and to have poor self-esteem. They may be less willing to make the most of their high school years by participating in sports teams and after-school clubs.

Eligibility of teens for bariatric surgery
Pediatric doctors can help teens follow a weight loss program based on a healthy meal plan and regular physical activity. But this isn’t enough for some teens. For these individuals, weight loss surgery may be appropriate.

Watch this featured video to hear a doctor at Sunrise Children’s Hospital explain the general eligibility criteria for bariatric surgery in adolescents. They are:

  • Body mass index of 35 or higher with major co-morbidities
  • Body mass index of 40 or higher with less severe co-morbidities
  • Demonstrated emotional maturity
  • Physical maturity (about 12 to 13 for girls, or 14 or 15 for boys)

Co-morbidities refer to other medical conditions that are related to obesity. For example, major co-morbidities include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Severe fatty liver disease
  • Moderate to severe sleep apnea

Less severe co-morbidities of obesity include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Mild sleep apnea

Each potential bariatric surgery patient will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and only the doctor can determine if weight loss surgery may be right for a particular teen.

Sunrise Children’s Hospital is your family’s partner in health. Our team of pediatric doctors and nurses is committed to helping your teen enjoy good health and quality of life. Call (702) 233-5437 to speak with a registered nurse at our children’s hospital in Las Vegas.

Knowing when your child has outgrown pediatric care

Posted on 8/29/2017

Your child’s pediatrician has always been there for your family—through frantic phone calls and heartbreaking hospitalizations. Now your child is growing up, and you’re thinking about the transition to a family care physician. But is there an age that automatically signals a switch in healthcare providers? The answer really depends on your child, and his or her medical needs and personal preferences. You’ll need personalized guidance from a pediatric doctor who truly knows your family’s situation. That’s why so many parents have chosen Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas—we are committed to providing the personalized, superior care that nurtures long-term relationships with the families we treat.

Your child’s medical privacy
Typically developing children will generally start having private medical exams at around the age of 13. This means you’ll stay in the waiting room. You’ll still have an opportunity to talk to the doctor, as adolescents usually need help to explain their symptoms and ask relevant questions.

This transitional phase sets the stage for your child to take full ownership of his or her healthcare later on.

Your child’s personal preferences
Adolescents are at the age in which being associated with childish settings can be a little embarrassing for them. Your child might be eager to “graduate” to a family care physician, in which case the transition might occur a little earlier than the 18 th birthday. Do seek the pediatrician’s guidance first.

Other kids are nervous about anything that isn’t familiar to them. Your child may wish to stick with the pediatrician for as long as possible. Some pediatricians will continue seeing their patients up to age 21, while others recommend transitioning to family medicine at age 18.

Your child’s medical needs
Some kids have ongoing medical needs that require the attention of a specialist. If your child does, then it might make sense to stick with the pediatrician until at least the 18 th birthday. The pediatrician knows your child well, and can provide the best possible care at this point in his or her life.

However, it’s still wise to start looking for another doctor before your child turns 18. It may take some time to find the right specialist for your child’s unique medical needs in young adulthood. Ask your pediatrician for recommendations.

For all of your child’s medical needs—from infancy through adolescence—you can put your trust in the compassionate, highly trained team at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. Pediatricians and specialists choose to work at our children’s hospital because of our firm commitment to superior, family-centered care. Call (702) 233-5437 to request a referral to a pediatrician or specialist.

Help your child practice smart eye safety

Posted on 8/27/2017

At around the six-month milestone, children should have their first eye exam to check on their healthy development. The optometrist will let you know how frequently your child needs subsequent eye check-ups, including an exam before the start of school. Since much of the material covered in school is visual, healthy vision is essential for your child’s academic progress. The pediatric specialists at Sunrise Children’s Hospital are always available to answer your questions about your child’s eye health.

Purchase safe toys
Eye safety isn’t usually a factor that most people consider when purchasing toys for young kids, but far too many children’s emergency care visits do occur because of unsafe toys. Avoid letting your child play with these potentially hazardous toys:

  • Toy guns or dart launchers
  • Water guns or water balloon launchers
  • Toy fishing poles
  • Toy swords, wands or bayonets
  • Aerosol “string”
  • Laser pointers
  • High-powered, LED flashlights

Essentially, any toy that has an airborne projectile or is meant to be swung through the air could cause an eye injury. Laser pointers and high-powered flashlights (for playing flashlight tag) can also be dangerous for eye health because of the very bright light.

Use sports safety equipment
Sports help kids build character, learn to be a good teammate and encourage physical fitness. Make sure your child has all the necessary safety equipment for his or her preferred sport.

Regular eyeglasses and sunglasses cannot protect a child’s eyes from trauma during sports-related contact or a fall. Your child needs specially designed protective eyewear. Your child’s pediatrician or eye doctor can recommend the right type for your child.

Know what to do if an eye injury occurs
Kids are susceptible to all sorts of eye injuries, including the following:

  • Corneal abrasions
  • Foreign object penetration
  • Retinal detachment
  • Corneal ulcers

If an eye injury affects your child, do not let him or her rub the eye. Don’t try to remove a foreign object embedded in the eye. Do flush the eye with clean water if the injury involves chemical irritation.

Eye injuries need immediate medical attention. When you call 911, the emergency dispatcher can give you further guidance.

The children’s emergency care specialists at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas provide responsive, reassuring care to our young patients. We’re available around the clock to treat and comfort children with serious health problems, such as eye injuries. Call 911 for EMS assistance, or call a registered nurse for non-emergent questions at (702) 233-5437.

How does obesity relate to childhood depression?

Posted on 8/25/2017

Obesity and mental health disorders do not exclusively affect adults. But because of the unique socio-behavioral developmental stages of children and adolescents, it’s often difficult for parents to tell when their children need medical intervention. Children’s hospitals can give the right care and support to kids struggling with obesity and depression. You can hear from a doctor at Sunrise Children’s Hospital when you watch this featured video. He explains the significant, long-term effects of pediatric obesity on quality of life and mental health.

Understanding the childhood obesity-depression link
The association between obesity and depression in youths is a two-way street. Many children suffer from both of these medical problems. Obesity can contribute to depression for these reasons:

  • Poor self-esteem
  • Social stigma of obesity
  • Bullying behaviors from peers
  • Poor quality of life
  • Social isolation and loneliness

Youths who are already struggling with mental health disorders are at a higher risk of becoming obese. These children overeat to compensate for their feelings of loneliness, emptiness and sadness.

Taking a closer look at this complex relationship reveals relevant changes in the brain. People with depression may have low levels of serotonin in the brain, which is the hormone that facilitates feelings of well-being. Low levels of serotonin trigger cravings for carbohydrates, which then help to boost serotonin levels.

Recognizing the signs of childhood depression
For the best possible outcome, pediatric specialists need to treat both depression and obesity. Unfortunately, while parents can often tell when their children are overweight or obese, it’s more difficult to recognize the signs of pediatric depression. Children’s moods and behaviors change frequently—it’s all part of growing up.

Pediatric specialists look for the following signs and symptoms when evaluating a young patient for depressive disorders.

  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Poor attention span
  • Unusual decline in school performance
  • Withdrawal from usual activities
  • Social isolation
  • Fatigue and sluggishness or restlessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Frequent rule-breaking

Any atypical, sustained behaviors or moods can be brought to the attention of a pediatrician.

At Sunrise Children’s Hospital, we put children and families first. Our compassionate professionals include social workers and Child Life Specialists, who provide family-centered support services to children going through tough times. Parents in the Las Vegas area can request a referral to a pediatric specialist by calling (702) 233-5437.

How does breast milk compare to baby formula?

Posted on 8/24/2017

During the early 20 th century, women were told that formula was better than breastfeeding. Fortunately, this myth has been thoroughly debunked. Doctors now know that breast milk is superior to formula, and women are encouraged to give breastfeeding a try. At Sunrise Children’s Hospital, our maternity and pediatric specialists know that breastfeeding is often challenging for new moms. Let us work with you to overcome these obstacles and support your healthy, growing family.

Nutrition of breast milk and formula
Infant formula and breast milk both contain the healthy ingredients infants need to thrive, but unfortunately, it’s impossible for formula to mimic the composition of breast milk. A mother’s body has a remarkable ability to produce exactly the right blend of food her baby needs—breast milk can even change to support babies when they’re ill!

Compared to formula, breast milk is easy for little tummies to digest. Consequently, breastfed babies have a lower risk of constipation and diarrhea. Breast milk also contains:

  • Superior, brain-building fats
  • Easily digested whey proteins
  • Intestinal health-boosting oligosaccharides
  • Immune-boosting, living white blood cells
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Easily absorbed iron

Health benefits of breast milk and formula
If breastfeeding simply doesn’t work for you, you can rest assured that you can still raise a very healthy baby with infant formula. But whenever possible, breastfeeding is encouraged because it offers unique health benefits. Breastfed babies have a lower risk of:

  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Meningitis
  • Ear infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Sudden infant death syndrome

Tastes of breast milk and formula
Another way to compare breast milk and formula is by their taste. Formula has one flavor—bland. Breast milk is subtly flavored with everything moms eat.

This might not seem like a major issue, but because breastfed babies are introduced to diverse flavors right from the start, they’re less likely to be picky eaters later on. This also means it might be easier to convince the child to eat a nutritious diet that includes lots of veggies and fruits.

Providing unsurpassed pediatric care is our mission here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. In addition to our comprehensive, sensitive breastfeeding support services, our childbirth classes and daily discharge classes reflect our commitment to family-centered care.

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