What is Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes

Pediatric endocrinologists are pediatricians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of children with diseases of the endocrine system.

What care is available in resource-constrained settings for children with diseases of the endocrine system?:

In many resource-constrained settings, medical care for endocrine conditions and for diabetes is absent or suboptimal. This is due to several factors that include lack of trained health professionals and insufficient funding for diagnostic tests and medications. GPED will work with health professionals, corporations, governments and non-profit organizations across the world to correct these deficiencies and promote optimal endocrine and diabetes care for all children living in the developing world.


Diabetes in children is mostly caused by insufficient secretion of insulin (Type 1 diabetes). Signs and symptoms include high blood sugar, increased thirst, frequent urination and weight loss. If left untreated, it is usually fatal. If poorly treated, it leads to severe long-term complications such as eye and kidney disease. Treatment requires daily administration of insulin, appropriate diet and regular monitoring of blood sugar.

Growth and puberty

Hormones such as growth hormone, thyroid hormones and testosterone/estrogens are, together with optimal nutrition, necessary to achieve normal pubertal development and final height.

Disorders of sexual development

Disorders of sex development (DSD) are congenital conditions in which sex development is atypical or ambiguous. These abnormalities potentially lead to major consequences for the neonate: undervirilization in males and virilization in females, abnormal pubertal development, absent or decreased fertility, recurrent infections in the genital area, inability to have normal sexual intercourse and poor quality of life. In addition, in the case of ambiguity, the genitalia do not have the normal appearance that allows the parents or health professionals to readily assign a male or a female sex.


Thyroid diseases

The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. It makes hormones that are necessary for brain development and growth. Neonates born with abnormal or absent thyroid gland may present with mental retardation and short stature. If recognized early, treatment costs a few dollars per month and is very effective.



Childhood obesity, defined as an excess of body fat that can have negative effects on health, is rapidly increasing in resource-constrained settings. Complications that can be seen in pediatrics include Type 2 diabetes, excess hair and infertility in girls, liver dysfunction.


Adrenal glands

Adrenal glands are 2 small glands located on top of the kidneys. They make very important hormones such as cortisol (the “stress hormone”) and aldosterone (necessary to prevent salt loss by the kidney).


Calcium and bones

Calcium is necessary for bone health. Its absorption and excretion are tightly regulated by hormones such as parathormone and vitamin D.