Conditions We Treat
Our board-certified pediatricians provide well child care from birth through 21 years of age and see a full range of injuries and diseases affecting children. The most common conditions we treat are:
Asthma & Allergy
Any child may become allergic, but children from families with a history of allergy are more likely to be allergic. Children may inherit the tendency to become allergic from their parents, but only some of them will develop an active allergic disease. Children’s allergies can show up in different ways including:
- Skin rashes (atopic dermatitis or eczema)
- Asthma - allergic rhinitis (also known as "hay fever")
- Food allergies
Asthma in children is a leading cause of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and missed school days. Childhood asthma cannot be cured, and symptoms may continue into adulthood, however with the right treatment, you and your child can keep symptoms under control and prevent damage to growing lungs.
Patients with asthma or allergy are seen by our pediatric allergy/immunology team. When you visit the clinic, we provide a detailed medical consultation and develop a unique care plan for your child. We then communicate and coordinate care with your child’s primary care provider, school nurse, and others involved in your child’s allergy or asthma care.
Cerebral palsy is a term describing a group of chronic disorders that impair a child’s ability to control his or her body movement and posture. The disorders result from damage to the motor areas of the developing brain during pregnancy or after birth. Symptoms are not always detectable during a child’s first year of life.
Cerebral palsy affects approximately two to six infants out of every 1,000 births, and it is the most common disability among children in the U.S. Children with mild cerebral palsy may only have a minor limp or an uncoordinated walk, while children with severe cases will require care and supervision throughout their lives. Many of the infants born with cerebral palsy also experience some degree of mental retardation and/or have seizures.
Patients with cerebral palsy or suspected cerebral palsy are seen by our pediatric neurology team who treats a wide range of nervous system diseases and disorders in children.
Children mostly develop type 1 diabetes, a form of the disease in which the immune system has destroyed the cells that produce insulin and the body no longer produces insulin. Therefore, insulin injections are needed for survival. Although it is more commonly seen in adults, children also get type 2 diabetes. Type 2 is generally brought on by weight gain due to physical inactivity and increased calorie consumption, and can be treated with pills and/or insulin along with diet and exercise. Children with type 2 tend to develop it after the age of 10 and often have a family history of the disease.
Childhood Diabetes Symptoms
The symptoms for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children are excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue and dehydration. In type 1, there may also be abdominal pain and vomiting that may signal that a child is going into a life-threatening condition termed diabetic ketoacidosis.
Childhood Diabetes Treatment
Childhood diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. The Diabetes Treatment Center at Howard University Hospital is recognized by the American Diabetes Association and provides patient-centric and comprehensive outpatient ambulatory care and education. Our physicians specialize in both adult and pediatric diabetes care and work alongside nutritionists, certified diabetes educators and pharmacists to provide quality care to diabetic patients. State-of-the-art continuous glucose sensors, insulin pumps and retinal eye screenings are available for patients who want to intensify their diabetes management. The center is the first of its kind in the community to embrace technology in the management of diabetic patients.
In addition, special events and support group meetings are held quarterly to assist parents and children with the unique demands of managing diabetes. Guidance is provided to parents in negotiating with school personnel about the care of their child in the school setting. Coping strategies are provided to parents and children during each stage of development. The nurturing support by the Diabetes Treatment Center staff provides the tools for a diabetic child to grow up to be confident and self-sufficient in managing his or her diabetes into adulthood.
Read more about Diabetes Treatment Center.
Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years according to US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
- Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors
- Obesity is defined as having excess body fat
Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”— too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. Long-term, children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer and osteoarthritis.
Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity
Patients who are overweight or obese are seen by our endocrinology team who treats a wide range of endocrine disorders in children. Our team conducts research and has substantial expertise in this condition which disproportionately affects African Americans. They look at factors such as lifestyle habits, dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents as well as medical and genetic disorders that may contribute to weight gain such as diabetes (see elsewhere on this page).
Genetic Disorders & Down Syndrome
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes lifelong mental and physical challenges for your child. It is caused by Down syndrome which varies in severity, so developmental problems range from moderate to serious.
Down syndrome is the most common genetic cause of learning disabilities in children. Researchers know that Down syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome, but it is not known for sure why Down syndrome occurs or how many different factors play a role.
Treatment of Genetic Disorders
Down syndrome is a lifelong condition. Early intervention will help babies and children with Down syndrome improve their physical and intellectual abilities. Patients with Down Syndrome are seen by our pediatric genetic disorders team who studies genetic factors and genetic disorders in order to learn more about preventing and coping with birth defects, developmental disabilities, and other unique conditions among children. [please confirm if this is accurate statements; We did not have any supporting information]
A seizure happens when your child has certain types of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. During a seizure, your child may:
- Experience abnormalities of sensation or emotion
- Have convulsions (abnormal jerking of the muscles)
- Lose consciousness
- Stare into space
Having just one seizure does not mean that your child has epilepsy. Generally, several seizures are needed before a diagnosis of epilepsy. Many children with epilepsy outgrow the condition; however, even mild seizures should be reported to your child’s pediatrician and treated.
Patients with seizures are seen by our pediatric neurology team who treats a wide range of nervous system diseases and disorders in children.
Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease, often called sickle cell anemia or just “sickle cell,” is an inherited condition that affects hemoglobin within the red blood cells. The presence of sickle hemoglobin (HbS) leads to the formation of crescent or sickle-shaped cells that are rigid and sticky and which tend to clog or close up small blood vessels. Depending on which of your child’s organ is involved, this clogging leads to episodes of pain, death of tissue and serious complications.
Sickle cell disease is seen predominantly in the African American population. The disease is also seen in people of other ethnic groups, such as the Middle East, Central India and countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, especially Italy and Greece.
Treatment of Sickle Cell Disease
There are effective treatments available to help relieve your child’s symptoms of sickle cell disease, but in most cases there is no cure. Children affected by this disease need regular medical care by our team of hematologists.