Health screenings are the best way to keep ourselves healthy. Everything from regular blood pressure checks all the way to colonoscopies help our physicians evaluate, prevent, diagnose and treat conditions that impact our quality of life.
Health screenings begin for your child just moments after they are born. In Illinois, comprehensive screening of newborns began in 1965 and now includes more than 40 conditions. By taking a few drops of blood from Baby’s heel, we can identify conditions as early as possible. This gives your Alzein Pediatrics health care provider the information needed to intervene quickly, helping Baby grow and develop in a positive way.
Newborn blood testing screens for:
- PKU or phenylketonuria, a metabolic disorder that can cause brain damage if not treated immediately
- Biotinidase deficiency, when your child cannot recycle the vitamin biotin
- Amino and urea cycle disorders that alter how your baby’s body removes waste and can cause brain damage
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, affecting your child’s hormones regulating sexual development and immunity
- Congenital hypothyroidism affecting growth, brain development and metabolism
- Cystic fibrosis, damaging lunges, pancreas, liver, kidneys and intestines
- Fatty acid oxidation disorders, affecting the metabolism
- Galactosemia, affecting how your baby processes simple sugar
- Lysosomal storage disorders, causing a build up of toxins in Baby’s cells
- Organic acid disorders, affecting enzymes that aid growth and learning
- Severe combined immune deficiency, a condition that is fatal within the first two years of life
- Sickle cell disease, inherited blood disorders that cause pain, infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke
Your newborn is also tested for hearing loss and critical congenital heart disease.
Newborns in Illinois will also get an injection of Vitamin K. This prevents Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB) which happens when Baby doesn’t have enough Vitamin K to form clots. While VKDB is rare, it is fatal or causes long-term serious brain damage. Preventing VKDB is easy, so all newborns are treated to a boost of Vitamin K at birth. The American Academy of Pediatrics affirms that without Vitamin K injection, babies are “80 times more likely to have VKDB.”
Being born can expose Baby to bacteria that causes serious eye infections that may lead to blindness. Because of this, all babies born in Illinois receive antibiotic eye drops after birth. Erythromycin is usually used.
Giving your newborn the healthiest start is a top priority of Illinois hospitals and of course, for all of us here at Alzein Pediatrics. If you are concerned about newborn screenings and testing, we are always happy to answer your questions. Please call our office at 708-424-7600.