Treating Childhood Conditions at St. Luke’s

St. Luke’s specializes in treating conditions that are unique to children. Combining the most advanced technology and the latest treatments, St. Luke’s doctors and staff provide solutions to children and their families.

If you need a doctor or would like more information on any of the children’s services at St. Luke’s, please contact St. Luke’s InfoLink by phone at 866-STLUKES (785-8537) or by e-mail at


Allergies – An allergy is a condition in which the body’s immune system reacts to some element causing discomfort, sometimes mild but often serious, even life-threatening. Children are more likely than adults to get allergies and there is a heredity factor in that children with allergic parents have a greater chance to develop allergies themselves.

Asthma – Asthma is a chronic disease that involving the airways. It causes swelling on the inside walls of the airways, making airways sensitive to any irritating source. This narrows or constricts the airways so that less air flows to the lung tissue. Approximately nine million children suffer from asthma.

Celiac Disease – Celiac is an auto-immune disease, a disease in which the body attacks itself. It is caused by genes, and by a food trigger trigger, gluten, that is mismanaged by the body because of the makeup of certain genes. A third factor is the presence of an intestinal leak, or the ineffective opening and closing of “doors” that help the intestine handle food. All three components—genes, gluten and intestinal leakage—are necessary for the onset of celiac disease.

Cerebral Palsy – Cerebral palsy refers to a group of conditions affecting movement, balance and posture in children. It is caused by an abnormality in one or more parts of the brain that control muscles. Many children with the disease have other conditions requiring treatment, including the following:

  • Mental retardation
  • Learning disabilities
  • Seizures
  • Problems with vision, speech and hearing

Cystic Fibrosis – Cystic fibrosis is an inherited, life-threatening disease affecting the lungs. It involves gene, called a recessive gene, that must be inherited from both parents. If two people carry the gene, they have a 25 percent change of having a child with cystic fibrosis, a 50 percent chance the child will be a carrier of the gene, and a 25 percent chance the child will not have the disease or be a carrier.

Down Syndrome – Down syndrome, which is the most common of birth defects, is a condition involving genes. It occurs when a child has 47 chromosomes instead of 46. In most cases, the extra chromosome is the one called 21, and so the Down syndrome caused by the 21 chromosome is called Trisomy 21.

Epilepsy – Children with epilepsy have seizures in which their muscles tighten and relax suddenly or stop moving completely. The seizure causes people, including children, to lose control of their muscles, and to faint and shake all over. A person with the disease of epilepsy may have several seizures a day or only one in a lifetime. Half of all children who have one seizure never have another.

Growth Disorders – Heart disease as well as diseases of the bones, lungs, kidneys, stomach and intestines may be underlining causes of growth disorders in children. Failure to thrive occurs mostly in children under 3 and could be sign of an infection or digestive problem.  Endocrine diseases involve the body’s hormones.

Heart Disease – Children with heart problems get special care at St. Luke’s, where the St. Luke’s Regional Heart Center provides a backdrop of expertise than ranks among the highest nationally for excellence in patient care and outcomes. Several fellowship-trained pediatric cardiologists treat children with a full range of heart-related illnesses. Two of the most common childhood heart conditions are congenital heart defects and mitral valve prolapse.

Hip Conditions – There are several hip conditions that affect children, and they affect as many as 20 in every 1,000 children. It helps to understand that the hip is a ball and socket joint. The top of the thigh bone is the “ball” that fits into a “socket” on the pelvis. The hips of some children become dislocated as the child grows. The “ball” may slip in and out of the “socket,” or may slip partly out. Sometimes, it becomes completely displaced. These conditions are known as dysplasia.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Inflammatory bowel disease is a problem that causes inflammation and swelling in the digestive tract. There are two types of the disease—ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation and bleeding sores in the large intestine an rectum. Crohn’s disease causes inflammation in the walls of the large small intestine, but can sometimes affect other parts of the digestive tract.

Joint and Bone Pain – Children experience joint and bone pain from several causes, including osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bone. One of the most common sources of such pain, however, is the result of sports injuries, which can affect all children, from youngsters riding bicycles to high school athletes.

Juvenile Diabetes – There are two types of diabetes that affect children, Type 1 and Type 2. In Type 1, the body’s immune system destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas that regulate blood glucose. It can occur at any age, but most frequently in children and young adults. Type 2 diabetes occurs when increasing amounts of insulin are needed to control blood glucose.

Juvenile Osteoporosis – Although rare in children and teenagers, bone loss or not enough bone formation can be caused by another conditions. No matter what causes it, juvenile osteoporosis can be a serious problem because it occurs during the child's bone-building years.

Juvenile Arthritis – Arthritis is caused by swelling that leads to damage in the cartilage and bone. There are two kinds of arthritis that affect children, the most common of which is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or JRA. The important thing to know is that the disease is treatable and that St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network has pediatric rheumatology specialists committed to treating children with arthritis.

Lyme Disease – Lyme disease is caught from the bite of an infected tick. It is a bacterial infection that causes a skin rash, swollen joints and flu-like symptoms. It often goes unnoticed in a child who is not aware of having been bitten.

Metabolic Syndrome – Metabolic syndrome is not a disease but a combination or cluster of symptoms that can lead to serious diseases in children. Children who are obese or overweight may have metabolic syndrome, and are at risk for diabetes, heart disease and other complications.

Neonatal Conditions – There are a number of conditions that affect newborn infants. Most are routinely screened for in the hospital nursery. Babies born at St. Luke’s New Beginnings Family Birth Centers have the advantage of a highly experienced and dedicated team of physician specialists with expertise in the many problems that sometimes occur shortly after delivery. Neonatal Intensive Care Units are equipped with the latest technological advances and physician expertise to care for these infants. Doctors use a simple blood test to effectively screen for a wide variety of problems at birth.

Pancreatic Disorders – Children suffer from a variety of diseases of the pancreas, from the age of birth through adolescence. Cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease, is the most common. Another common disease us Shwachman Diamond syndrome (SDS), which affects organs other than the pancreas as well. Children with the disease often have serious infections and are likely to incur a form of leukemia. Another common disease of the pancreas in pancreatitis, an inflammation of the organ that produces swelling and irritation. Its causes include viral infection, injury, surgical procedures of the pancreas, and some medications.

Scoliosis – Scoliosis is a sideways curve in the backbone or spine. It usually occurs among teenagers and older children. The condition is often temporary. Sometimes it is caused by an injury, infection or muscle spasm, sometimes by a birth defect or disease that causes a permanent curve in the backbone. In a majority of cases, the cause of scoliosis is not known.

Sleep Disorder – Children have various kinds of sleep problems, caused by different conditions or situations, which may or may not require medical attention. They include insomnia, nightmares, sleeptalking, sleepwalking, sleep terrors, restless leg syndrome, snoring and sleep apnea.