• Which mental illnesses tend to show signs during childhood?

    Mental illnesses are typically chronic conditions that require a lifetime of management. Pediatricians are learning more about how these illnesses present themselves during childhood, making earlier diagnoses more possible than ever before. By diagnosing mental illnesses early, it is possible to delay the onset of some symptoms and prevent complications, while making the disease easier to manage for life. These are some of the mental illnesses that may show symptoms during childhood.

    Depression and bipolar disorder
    Depression and bipolar disorder can occur in young children and teens, often causing many of the same symptoms that they do in adults. Children who are suffering from depression may experience:

    • Sleeping more or less than normal
    • Changes in weight or appetite
    • Withdrawal from normal activities
    • Falling grades in school

    Children who have bipolar disorder may experience both episodes of depressive symptoms and manic episodes, during which kids may be extremely active and may seem suddenly and disproportionately happy or excited. These symptoms can cycle back and forth over an extended period, or they may change very quickly.

    Schizophrenia
    Schizophrenia was once thought to only appear in late adolescence and early adulthood, but pediatricians now know that it can appear earlier. With this condition, kids may complain of hearing or seeing things or having confused thoughts. Parents may notice behaviors that seem unusual or that kids seem sensitive to light and sound and feel persecuted.

    Sometimes, kids experience symptoms of schizophrenia before they actually develop the condition, including hallucinations, anxiety, and slow language and motor development. Starting treatment at this stage can reduce the risk of more intense episodes of psychosis later in life.

    Anxiety disorders
    Like depression, kids with anxiety disorders have many of the same symptoms as adults. These symptoms include:

    • Irritability
    • Restlessness
    • Panic attacks
    • Sleeplessness

    Sometimes, anxiety disorder symptoms can be confused for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Your pediatrician will consider a wide range of symptoms to make an accurate diagnosis.

    Kids with mental illnesses can thrive with pediatric care to manage their conditions. At Sunrise Children’s Hospital, our pediatricians can help kids get the right diagnosis when they have a mental illness and find the right combination of therapies and medications to help. Contact us today at (702) 233-5437 to make an appointment with a pediatrics specialist in Las Vegas .

  • How is surgery different for children and adults?

    When it comes to surgery, one size does not fit all. Children and adults have different needs before, during, and after surgery, even if they are being treated for the same conditions. Pediatric surgeons have special training that allows them to work specifically on young patients to ensure the best possible outcomes. Here is a closer look at how surgery in children’s hospitals differs from adult surgical procedures.

    Prepping patients and families
    For kids, surgery is a family affair. Before a pediatric surgery, the doctors and surgeons involved in the case will spending time explaining what to expect to the patient in an age-appropriate way and helping parents and siblings understand the procedure.

    It’s important for parents to have a complete understanding of their children’s surgery, so they feel as comfortable as possible about the treatment plan and are equipped for the recovery period. It is equally important for the pediatric patient to have age-appropriate knowledge of the procedure so that he or she is relaxed rather than fearful.

    Using kid-friendly surgical equipment
    Kids have different needs in terms of anesthesia and surgical equipment. Pediatric anesthesiologists are trained to provide safe and effective anesthesia to young patients, adjusting medications as necessary for a child’s weight and to account for children’s small airways.

    Pediatric surgeons are able to perform minimally invasive procedures on children thanks to equipment that has been manufactured to be kid-sized. As the video states, pediatric surgical equipment is small and precise, so that kids can reap the benefits of faster recovery times that are associated with minimally invasive procedures. Open surgeries, when necessary, are also performed with kid-friendly equipment.

    Managing post-operative pain
    Kids often struggle to accurately describe pain levels after surgery, which can make pain management more complex. Child Life specialists are healthcare associates in children’s hospitals who help kids learn to describe their pain levels and assist in ensuring young patients’ post-operative pain is being adequately and safely controlled.

    At Sunrise Children’s Hospital , our team of pediatrics specialists in Las Vegas is highly skilled in childhood surgeries and dedicated to keeping patients and their families at ease during a scary time. To request a referral to a provider at our children’s hospital, please call (702) 233-5437.

  • How juvenile arthritis may affect your child’s growth

    Arthritis isn’t just an adult’s disease. Kids can and do get arthritis, and it can affect their health in many ways. If your pediatrics specialist has diagnosed your child with arthritis, it’s important to follow his or her treatment plan closely, including having regular visits with the doctor so that your child’s condition can be monitored. Here is what you need to know about juvenile arthritis and how it may affect your child’s growth.

    Juvenile arthritis 101
    Juvenile arthritis is not a disease but is instead an umbrella term that refers to multiple forms of arthritis that can affect kids. Some of the forms of arthritis that fall into the category of juvenile arthritis are:

    • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
    • Juvenile lupus
    • Juvenile scleroderma
    • Juvenile dermatomyositis

    All forms of juvenile arthritis can cause different symptoms, and some forms of the disease cause little joint pain at all but instead affect the eyes, muscles, skin, or gastrointestinal tract.

    Juvenile arthritis and growth
    Whether juvenile arthritis affects growth depends on many different factors, including:

    • Type of disease
    • Severity of disease
    • Effectiveness of treatments

    Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, which itself contains multiple subsets of the arthritis, is the most common form of the disease to interfere with growth. In addition to joint pain and swelling, this form of arthritis can affect the way that bones grow. Kids with this form of arthritis who experience changes to their bone growth may have bones that grow too slowly. When the lower extremities are affected, height can be impacted.

    Growth can also be affected by treatments for juvenile arthritis. Often, kids with arthritis take corticosteroids to control their symptoms. Long-term use of steroids is associated with delayed growth that may be permanent.

    Working closely with your child’s doctor at Sunrise Children’s Hospital is essential after a diagnosis of juvenile arthritis. With the right treatments, symptoms can be controlled and the risk of complications can be reduced. Call our children’s hospital in Las Vegas at (702) 233-5437 for more information or a referral to a pediatrics specialist.

  • Will food allergies go away in adulthood?

    Food allergies are scary for parents and kids alike. In addition to the caution that families need to take in their own homes to prevent exposure to trigger foods, parents have to worry about their kids coming into contact with off-limit foods at school and friends’ houses. Kids with food allergies are often no stranger to the ER in their children’s hospital and frequently need emergency care for severe allergic reactions. One question parents often have when their kids have food allergies is if the allergies will go away later in life. Here’s what is what you need to know.

    Allergies that may go away during adulthood
    There is no guarantee that any food allergy will go away during adulthood. However, some food allergies are more likely to clear up than others. Food allergies that kids commonly grow out of are:

    • Milk
    • Wheat
    • Soy
    • Egg

    Kids who outgrow these allergies sometimes do so later in their childhoods and during their teen years. In other cases, kids don’t outgrow them until they reach adulthood. Your pediatrics specialist will monitor the progression of your child’s allergies and help you determine if he or she is overcoming an allergic reaction to a specific trigger.

    Allergies that do not go away during adulthood
    Some food allergies are more likely to remain for life. These allergies include:

    • Peanut
    • Tree nut
    • Fish
    • Shellfish

    Although occasionally these allergies do go away, they linger for life for most people. Keep in mind that the severity of the reaction is not a reliable indicator of whether or not an allergy will go away.

    Determining if your child still has an allergy
    If you suspect that your child has outgrown an allergy, don’t feed him or her the trigger food to test the idea. Instead, allow your child’s pediatric allergist to perform in-office testing. Testing at home could lead to anaphylaxis and the need for emergency care.

    If your child does suffer a serious food allergy reaction, choose Sunrise Children’s Hospital for children’s emergency care in Las Vegas that caters to young patients. You can learn more about our emergency room and all of our pediatric services by calling (702) 233-5437.

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