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Endocrine Disorders

Babies with endocrine disorders of either the thyroid or andrenal glands make too little of certain hormones. Babies with these disorders can receive hormones to replace the ones their bodies cannot make. Replacement of thyroid hormone prevents growth problems and mental handicap. Replacement of adrenal gland hormones can prevent serious health problems, such as shock or sudden unexpected death.

There are two disorders:

The adrenal glands (small organs that lay on top of the kidneys) in babies with this inherited disorder are unable to make two hormones called cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol helps the body to cope with stress and aldosterone helps control salt balance. Too little of these hormones may cause vomiting, dehydration, low blood pressure and even death. CAH also causes problems with growth and development. Screening and early treatment with special medicines can help prevent these problems. Most people with CAH enjoy normal healthy lives with few problems. One baby in 16,000 is born in BC with CAH.

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Babies with CH do not make enough of a thyroid hormone called thyroxine. Without this hormone, they do not grow properly and can develop physical problems and serious mental disabilities. Most babies with CH appear normal at birth. Screening means that babies with CH can be found early and treated with thyroxine pills. Most people with CH can enjoy normal healthy lives with few problems. One baby in 4,000 in BC is born with CH.

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