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ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone)A hormone made in the pituitary gland that tells the adrenal gland to make cortisol and androgens.
ACTH stimulation testOne of the laboratory tests used to diagnose adrenal insufficiency. See Health Topic.
Acanthosis nigricansA gray or black discoloration of the skin, usually seen in the neck, underarms and the groin. It is a sign of insulin resistance.
Adrenal glandsLocated above each kidney, these glands make the hormones cortisol, aldosterone and androgens. These hormones help to regulate water balance, blood sugar and blood pressure. They also play a role in male and female changes in puberty.
Addison’s diseaseA rare disease where the adrenal glands do not make enough cortisol or aldosterone (adrenal hormones). There are different causes of Addison’s disease, but in many cases the body’s immune system may not recognize the adrenal gland and try to destroy it.
Adrenal insufficiencyA condition where the adrenal glands do not make enough cortisol or aldosterone (adrenal hormones). See Health Topic.
AldosteroneA hormone made in the adrenal gland that helps a person’s body balance nutrients such as sodium and potassium.
Ambiguous genitaliaA birth defect that causes a baby’s genitals to look different from typical genitalia, making it hard to tell the sex of the baby.
AmenorrheaThe lack of menstrual cycles in females. See Health Topic. There are two types:
AndrogensMale sex hormones that cause and maintain the male sex changes. The main hormone is testosterone. These hormones are made in the testes and adrenal glands.
Antithyroid medications (Methimazole, Tapazole, and PTU)This medication is used to treat any condition that causes too much thyroid hormone (Graves disease, thyroiditis). It lowers the amount of thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland.
Arm spanA measurement of the distance between the middle fingertips of the left and the right hands when arms are spread out as far as possible. This measurement may be used to help your doctor identify growth disorders.
Arginine Clonidine Growth Hormone Stimulation TestOne of the laboratory tests used to diagnose growth hormone deficiency. See Health Topic.
Bone age X-rayAn X-ray of the left hand and wrist. This X-ray may be a part of the growth evaluation. The doctor will compare the child’s chronological age (actual age) with his skeleton age (bone maturity). Delays or advancements in skeletal age from the child’s actual age may help identify an endocrine problem. See Health Topic.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)An inherited disorder of the adrenal glands affecting the ability to make enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone, but too much of the hormone androgen. If CAH goes untreated, this condition can lead to death.
Constitutional delay of growth (late bloomer)A normal variation of growth. A child will grow at a normal rate but appears smaller than children the same age. The bone age and the start of puberty are usually delayed. A child with constitutional delay of growth tends to have a catch-up growth spurt at puberty, reaching a normal adult height.
CortisolA hormone made in the adrenal gland, sometimes called “stress hormone.” Cortisol plays a role in the body’s reaction to stress (injury, illness) by controlling blood pressure and blood sugar.
Cushing disorderThis disorder is caused by problems with the pituitary gland that cause too much ACTH in the body. A person with this condition may have a round swollen face, increased weight, weakened muscles and bruise easily. An increase in blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol may also be seen.
Desmopressin (DDAVP)An oral medication that helps to lessen the amount of urine a person will make. This medicine is often used in patients with diabetes insipidus. See Health Topic.
DEXA ScanA special X-ray that measures the amount of minerals, such as calcium, in your bones. The scan tells your doctor how strong your bones are.
Diabetes InsipidusThis condition is a result of a lack of antidiuretic hormone (ADH). This hormone is made by the pituitary gland and helps the kidneys balance fluid in the body. A person with this condition may have a large amount of urine each day and be very thirsty. If untreated, this condition can lead to dehydration, and problems with growth, weight gain and appetite. See Health Topic.
EndocrinologistA doctor who specializes in the function of the endocrine system and treatment of endocrine disorders.
Epiphyseal plate (epiphyses)The growing end of the long bones, sometimes called the growth plate.
EstrogenA “female” hormone that is one of the hormones responsible for breast development, menstrual cycles (periods) and growth in girls. Estrogen is also produced in small amounts in males.
Estrogen Replacement TherapyA medicine taken by mouth to replace the female hormone that helps to cause the puberty changes in girls. Medication may be given in an oral or patch form.
Familial Short StatureA normal growth pattern that matches closely to the child’s family members. The bone age usually matches the child’s age.
Fanconi anemiaA rare inherited blood disorder that may lead to bone marrow failure. Children with Fanconi anemia are at higher risk for having birth defects, kidney problems, growth problems and cancer. See Health Topic.
FastingA period of time when a person should stop eating or drinking for several hours. A doctor might ask a person to begin fasting at midnight the day before a test or procedure. Fasting usually includes avoiding everything taken in by mouth, even chewing gum and hard candy. Ask your doctor if you can take any medicines that are due during your fasting period.
FellowshipIn the endocrine program, this is a three-year training period for a pediatrician to become an endocrinologist.
FlorinefA medication taken by mouth that helps replace the adrenal hormone, aldosterone.
GalactorrheaLeaking of milk from the breast that can occur in both males and females who are not breastfeeding.
GoiterEnlargement of the thyroid gland, which is in the front of the neck, behind the trachea (wind pipe).
Growth failureA term that your doctor might use when your child has not grown at a normal speed (growth velocity) for her age.
Growth hormoneA hormone that helps with growth, bone and muscle strength, and sugar and fat metabolism.
Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD)This condition is due to the pituitary gland not making enough growth hormone for the body. A child with this deficiency will look younger and smaller than children of the same age.
Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy (Genotropin, Humatrope, Norditropin, Nutropin AQ, Saizen, Tev Tropin)A daily shot that is given for growth hormone deficiency or growth failure.
Growth velocityThe rate of growth a child experiences over a period of time. Normal growth velocities are based on age.
GynecomastiaEnlargement of one or both breasts in boys. It can be caused by an estrogen and androgen hormone imbalance, or sometimes from too much fatty tissue in overweight boys.
HirsutismExcessive growth of facial and body hair (usually in females).
HyperinsulinismAbove normal levels of insulin in the blood of a person. It is the most common cause of low blood sugars seen in newborn babies. Hyperinsulinism can also lead to decreased insulin sensitivity, which may lead to high blood sugars. Treatment is aimed at keeping blood sugar levels normal and will be based on the cause of the condition.
HyperparathyroidismOveractive parathyroid gland causing too much calcium and low phosphorus levels in the blood. Calcium levels that are too high can cause weakness, dehydration, kidney stones, brittle bones, high blood pressure, seizures or coma. Treatment is based on the cause of the condition.
HyperprolactinemiaAn increase of the hormone prolactin secreted from the pituitary gland. An increased prolactin level can cause breast drainage (galactorrhea), irregular menstrual cycles or enlarged breasts.
HyperthyroidismAn increase in the production of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland, which causes trouble sleeping, diarrhea, tiredness, goiter, feeling hot, fast heart rate, weight loss, bulging of the eyes or shakiness. Treatment may include antithyroid medications and management of fast heart rates. In some cases, radioactive iodine or surgery could be necessary. See Health Topic.
HypopituitaryA condition resulting from decreased secretion of pituitary hormones.
HydrocortisoneA medication that replaces the hormone cortisol. It is taken by patients who have conditions of adrenal insufficiency.
Hypothyroid, congenitalA condition found in one out of every 4,000 newborns. All babies are tested for congenital hypothyroidism within the first week of life. When a baby has this condition, her thyroid gland is not producing enough hormone for the brain and body to grow and develop.
Hypothyroid, acquiredA disorder that does not allow the thyroid gland to make enough thyroid hormone for the brain and body to grow and develop normally. Although the condition is more common in adolescent girls, it can be found in boys and girls of any age.
Idiopathic Short StatureCases where children fall below the third percentile for height on the standard growth chart. After evaluation by an endocrinologist, no medical conditions that cause growth failure are found. Patients may be candidates for growth hormone therapy.
IGF-1A hormone that plays an important role in growth. IGF-1 is influenced by growth hormone and nutritional status. The amount of hormone found in the blood is useful in screening for growth hormone deficiency .
IGF-1 deficiencyA condition in which the body does not make enough IGF-1. Often, this condition causes short stature.
InsulinA hormone made in the pancreas that has many functions. One important function is helping your body control blood sugar levels.
Insulin ResistanceA condition in which the body needs more insulin than normal to control blood sugar. This increases a person’s risk of diabetes and heart disease. This condition is usually associated with obesity.
Kallmann’s syndromeA syndrome in which the body makes low levels of the puberty hormones. People with this syndrome have poor or absent ability to smell. An evaluation by a pediatric endocrinologist is recommended at the time of puberty to assist with medications to promote puberty.
KaryotypeA test that looks at a person’s genetic make-up. The test looks at the number, shape and size of the person’s chromosomes (cell structures that carry DNA or genes). Extra, missing or abnormal chromosomes can explain problems with growth and development.
Klinefelter syndromeThis condition occurs in one out of 500 to 1,000 male births. Boys are born with an extra X chromosome. Boys may present with tall, slim stature and delayed puberty. They may also experience behavior problems and delayed language skills. Testosterone therapy is recommended for boys age 11-12 after evaluation by a pediatric endocrinologist. A Klinefelter syndrome support group can be contacted at Klinefeltersyndrome.org.
Leuprolide Stim TestA specialized blood test used for diagnosing early or delayed puberty. See Health Topic.
LevothyroxineGeneric name for thyroid replacement hormone. Brand names may include Synthroid and Levoxyl.
Luteinizing Hormone (LH)A puberty hormone that stimulates the body to produce testosterone or estrogen.
Lupron DepotA medication used to suppress puberty. It is given by an injection or shot. See Health Topic.
Marfan syndromeMarfan syndrome is a genetic disorder with an incidence rate of one in 5,000 individuals. It affects the body’s connective tissues, or the tissues in between the main cells of each organ of the body. A person with Marfan syndrome will usually be tall, slender and somewhat loose jointed or limber. The arms, legs, fingers and toes may be disproportionately long when compared to the trunk.
McCune Albright syndromeA genetic condition affecting bone health, puberty and the thyroid. Characteristics may include early puberty, bone fracture and café au lait spots (irregular brown spots on the skin). A child with these symptoms should be evaluated by an endocrinologist to determine medications required to optimize bone health and monitor pubertal advancement.
MetforminAn oral medication that has been shown to improve the body’s use of insulin. This medication is often used in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, polycystic ovary syndrome and obesity. The brand name is Glucophage.
MethimazoleA generic name for Tapazole. Used as an anti-thyroid agent in the treatment of hyperthyroidism.
Noonan syndromeOccurs in about one in 1,000 to 2,500 live births. The actual genetic abnormality has not been discovered. The adolescent growth spurt is often blunted or delayed, and 60 percent of males have undescended testes. In addition to a delay in growth, sexual development is variable and may also be delayed. See Health Topic.
ObesityToo much fat in the body, caused by eating more calories than used. Obesity increases risk of diabetes and heart disease. See Health Topic.
Pelvic ultrasoundSee Health Topic.
Pituitary glandLocated at the bottom of the brain, this pea-sized gland helps to control many endocrine functions. The pituitary gland plays an important role in growth, fluid balance, thyroid function and puberty, among other physical processes.
Precocious pubertySee Health Topic.
Premature adrenarcheThe early growth of pubic hair before the age of 8 years in girls and the age of 9 years in boys.
Premature thelarcheThe early appearance of breast development in females who show no other signs of puberty.
ProlactinA hormone released by the pituitary gland that controls the milk production in the breast tissue.
PTU (Propylthiouracil) A medication used to treat hyperthyroidism. This medicine slows or stops the thyroid gland from making too much thyroid hormone.
PubertyA time during which a child’s reproductive system matures, the body changes and growth increases. See Health Topic for female and male.
Radioactive iodine (RAI)A medication that is given safely by mouth to stop the thyroid gland from making too much thyroid hormone in a patient with an overactive gland.
RicketsA disorder that causes softening and weakening of the bone in children who have low levels of vitamin D.
Septo-optic dysplasiaA rare condition in which there is abnormal development in part of brain that can cause changes in a child’s eyes and problems in the pituitary gland.
Small for gestational age (SGA)SGA is a term used for newborns that are smaller than the third percentile for height and weight for age. The newborn baby’s age is determined by counting the number of weeks since the mother’s last menstrual period.
Short statureSee Health Topic.
Solu-cortefA medicine given to children with adrenal hyperplasia in times of illness. This medicine is given by a shot when a child is vomiting. Solu-cortef prevents a child from entering a life-threatening condition called shock.
SteroidsMedication, such as cortef or prednisone, that is taken to replace cortisol hormones.
Subcutaneous injectionSome medications are to be given into subcutaneous tissue, which is the fatty layer of tissue just under the skin. They are sometimes called “Sub-Q” injections. See Health Topic.
SupprelinA medication used to stop precocious puberty. It is a device that can be surgically placed underneath the skin.
Tanner StageMedical term used for stages of puberty ranging on a scale of 1 to 5.
TapazoleA medication used to treat hyperthyroidism. This medicine slows or stops the thyroid gland from making too much thyroid hormone; also called methimazole.
TestosteroneA “male” hormone that is made by the testes in males and by the ovaries in females. Normal levels of testosterone are important for energy and bone strength.
Testosterone Replacement TherapyThis is a male hormone replacement medicine given either by applying to the skin every day or by a shot every two to four weeks in the muscle. This will help start puberty or maintain the male sex changes of adults.
Thyroid glandA small butterfly-shaped gland of the endocrine system, in the neck area, that makes thyroid hormone.
Thyroid scanA nuclear scan used to evaluate the function of thyroid or thyroid nodules.
Thyroid noduleA lump or swelling felt in the neck in the area of the thyroid gland.
Thyroidectomy Surgical removal of the thyroid gland.
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)A hormone made in the brain that tells the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormone. The amount of TSH your brain is making can be checked with a blood test.
Turner syndromeA genetic condition affecting girls with an incidence of one in 2,500 female births. These girls need screening for possible problems related to the heart, kidneys, growth, pubertal development and developmental delays. See Turner Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s and the support group at Turnersyndrome.org.
Type 1 diabetes mellitusSee Health Topic.
Type 2 diabetes mellitusSee Health Topic.
Vitamin DA vitamin that helps the body absorb nutrients, such as calcium and phosphorus, that make the bones stronger.
Water deprivation testA test used to check the ability of kidneys to concentrate urine.
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