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Diagnosis in children

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C. A. V. Nogueira, M.D. ▼ | January 10, 2015
Diagnosis in children
In doctor's room   Fast diagnosis followed by the simplest explanation

When diagnosing health conditions in children, it can be easy to overlook some symptoms and come up with a completely wrong diagnosis. There are several reasons for that but we can prevent that with a careful examination.

When your child can't think clearly or is sad and fell fatigue, it is easiest to say that's depression. But it's not that simple because it is normal to be down sometimes, that happens all the time to all people, but parents can be very inpatient sometime and tend to accept the easiest explanation. Then, medicines are introduced and the kid is really down for a long time.

When your kid is down, just a regular down period may be the cause but we must think about anxiety disorder. Children sometimes don't want to share their problems with others and that state of mind can last for some time. That doesn't have to be depression, there can be some organic reason behind it. Hypothyroidism is one example: When thyroid is not working properly, symptoms can look very similar to depression. In that case, a thyroid replacement hormone is then used to solve that problem.

When your child has symptoms of inattention, it will get ADHD diagnosis in a second and in the most cases the teacher will be the first to say that and, unfortunately, the doctor will agree.

But, let's take a deeper look. Children can suffer from inattention when they have been impacted by a trauma, PTSP. They can also have learning disorder, dyslexia can be involved too, and sometimes there is a pain your children will not tell you about for some reason. And there can be something that’s easy to treat, like low blood sugar or a hearing problem.

So, what looks like ADHD at the first sight, may turn out to be something very different and easy to treat. And don't forget that it's about kids. They have a shorter attention span, they run, they laugh, they are playing around, they can't be tied down all day long.

During the winter season cold weather can cause dry mouth and dry eyes, especially if the kid is playing outside for a long time and that's completely normal. But Sjogren syndrome, an autoimmune disorder in which the glands that produce tears and saliva are destroyed, causes dry mouth and dry eyes. What's even worse, the condition may affect other organs in the body. So, if you notice fatigue or aches along with dry mouth and dry eyes, asked for a detailed examination.

If you hear that Sjogren is usually diagnosed in adults of 40 years of age or more, remember that doesn't mean the condition didn't exist earlier, it was just diagnosed later. It can develop at any age.

One of the common complains coming from children is pain in the stomach that lasts for a few days. If the stomach is larger than usual, don't just assume something bad was eaten. That may be the cause, stomach in some kids doesn’t like all food, but celiac disease can also be the cause, especially if the condition persists. Celiac disease damages small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. In that case kids must eat gluten free food or serious problems can arise.

And now the flu of which the season is just underway. The problem is, meningococcal meningitis in the first phase can be hard to diagnose because its initial symptoms are similar to those of the flu or even bad cold. Meningococcal bacteria can live happily in our nose and throat but when it causes the disease, the consequences can be disastrous and even fatal. That is why the child with flu must be followed closely to make sure it's just a common flu.

So, we can see that reasons for some child conditions can be hidden and they can be mixed. Sometimes is about the "brain," sometimes it's something organic, and something it's something that's very easy to solve but it's not so obvious at the first look.

That's why the best advice for the parents would be: Don't accept a very fast diagnosis followed by the simplest explanation. If it's winter, that doesn't mean it's common cold. It's the kid doesn't speak much, that doesn't mean depression medicines are needed.

Be sure to hear from your doctor why he thinks the symptoms point exactly to that particular condition. That doesn't mean the parent should panic at every symptom, it just means that you must get the clear answer what's going on with your child.

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