Diabetes is the name given to a group of conditions where the blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are too high because either there is not enough insulin being produced or it is not working properly.
There are several different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is the most common type in children and adolescents and is caused by a lack of insulin resulting from autoimmune destruction of the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
The cause of Type 1 diabetes is still not fully understood. It is not caused by eating the wrong foods or being overweight.
It is a different condition to Type 2 diabetes, which is much more common and usually is diagnosed in adults. Read more.
Type 1 diabetes usually presents with increased thirst and urination. Sometimes there is also weight loss, tiredness, skin or other infections, abdominal pain and increased appetite.
Diabetes is diagnosed by blood tests showing an elevated blood glucose level on a fasting test or during an oral glucose tolerance test.
There is currently no cure or prevention for Type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes is treated with insulin given by injections or by an insulin pump and people with diabetes need to monitor their blood glucose levels frequently.
There is a lot of research trying to find better treatments for Type 1 diabetes and hopefully a way to prevent and cure it.
Technology is an increasingly important part of Type 1 diabetes management, with insulin pumps and sensors being used successfully by many children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes in children is best treated by a multidisciplinary team. A/Prof Jack is happy to provide a consultation service for children and adolescents with diabetes but does not provide primary care or on-call services.
A/Prof Jack has a special clinical and research interest in children with thyroid conditions.
The thyroid hormone is a butterfly shaped gland in the neck that produces hormones that are vital for normal growth and development.
Hypothyroidism or an "underactive" thyroid means the thyroid gland is producing too little hormone. This can cause symptoms such as: jaundice, poor growth, lack of energy, weight gain, constipation, joint pain, cold intolerance and weakness.
Congenital hypothyroidism occurs in approximately 1 in 2000 to 3000 babies and occurs when the thyroid gland is absent or does not produce normal amounts of thyroid hormone.
Autoimmune hypothyroidism, or Hashimoto's thyroiditis when the thyroid gland is enlarged, occurs in older children and adults.
Hypothyroidism is treated with thyroid hormone replacement given as oral tablets daily. Children and adolescents with hypothyroidism need close monitoring with regular clinical examination and blood tests.
Hyperthyroidism means the thyroid gland is "overactive", that is, creating too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms include weight loss, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, sleeping difficulties, sweating, clumsiness, nervousness or irritability.
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism in children is autoimmune hyperthyroidism or Graves' disease when associated with an enlarged thyroid gland. Other causes include acute inflammation and non-cancerous growths or nodules of the thyroid gland.
Hyperthyroidism is usually initially treated with oral medications and may require surgery or radioactive iodine treatment.
APEG Congenital Hypothyroidism booklet
(Hormone & Me series)
Examples of the other endocrine conditions that we have experience in managing include:
Adrenal Gland Disorders
- Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
Disorders of Puberty and sexual development
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Early (Precocious) Puberty
- Delayed Puberty
- Male gynaecomastia
- Disorders of sex differentiation
- Turner syndrome
Pituitary gland disorders
- Diabetes insipidus
Hypoglycaemia, including congenital hyperinsulinism
Parathyroid gland disorders
- Hypoparathyroidism/ hypocalcaemia
- Hypophosphataemic rickets
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Turner syndrome
- Klinefelters syndrome
- Prader-Willi syndrome
Children grow and mature at different rates. Children who are growing too slowly or too quickly, may need to see a Paediatric Endocrinologist.
Growth charts are used to plot a child's growth compared to reference populations. Growth charts have centile lines ranging from the 1st to 97th centiles. Growth is determined by multiple factors including height of parents. Growth hormone imbalances can cause abnormal growth. Other causes include poor nutrition, chronic illness, long-term medications and congenital problems.
It is important to detect and treat growth problems early. After puberty, the growth plates in the bones fuse and no further growth in length of bones is possible.
National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) delivers diabetes-related products at subsidised prices and provides information and support services to people with diabetes.
We accept referrals for new patients aged 0-16 years. We don't see adult patients or new patients over 16 years of age unless they are presenting with delayed puberty.
We appreciate receiving a copy of the referral and relevant pathology and radiology results prior to the patients appointment, where possible.
The referring doctor will be asked to discuss any urgent referrals directly with Dr Jack prior to the patient being given an appointment to ensure timely review is possible. Please call the reception and inform the receptionist your patient requires an urgent appointment.
Patients with suspected diabetes need urgent assessment as they can deteriorate acutely. Non urgent reviews are not appropriate in this situation.