Changes Made to Pediatric Schedule of Checkups Mean Changes for You
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released new guidelines for well-child visits from infancy through adolescence. The changes made will affect the way your child is screened for certain health conditions during specific well-child examinations.
Birth through 30 Months
The changes made for infants and children in this age group include newborn assessment for critical congenital heart disease. Screening for this disease is performed by use of pulse oximetry to measure the rate of blood flow through the baby’s body. This should be performed before the newborn leaves the hospital.
Another change made by the AAP is to begin screening for iron deficiency anemia in children ages 15 through 30 months. Iron deficiency anemia is on the rise among children one to three years of age often due to diet. Iron is mineral necessary for proper body function as it is carried in red blood cells, nourishing the body with oxygen. A lack of iron in the blood can lead to growth, learning and behavioral problems if not treated early with proper supplements.
The AAP is now recommending that children age 9-11 have their cholesterol checked in an effort to prevent heart disease later on in life. This was previously not tested until the child was 18 years of age. The recommendation was changed in part because of the growing obesity epidemic. Studies have shown that by fourth grade, 10-14 percent of U.S. children have high cholesterol (score of 200 or more). Since cholesterol rates dip during puberty and rise later it is important to screen beforehand.
Among the changes made by the AAP, screening for depression for children 11 through 21 years of age has been added. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1 in 5 children are at risk for a mental health disorder. It is important to diagnose and treat depression as early as possible to prevent it from spiraling out of control. The AAP advises parents of children who are diagnosed with depression to have any firearms and ammunition removed from their home.
For adolescents between the ages of 16 through 18, the AAP now recommends HIV screening. Females should also no longer be screened for cervical dysplasia until they become 21 years of age. The new guidelines also recommend that adolescents in this age group be screened for alcohol and drug use.
If you have questions regarding the changes made by the AAP, we would like to discuss them with you. Give Rainbow Pediatrics a call at (910) 486-5437 or visit us online at http://www.rainbowpeds.net.