Measures for diagnosing endocrinopathies in childhood are not yet satisfactory. Among conditions difficult to diagnose is a questionable lowered function of the pituitary gland. The picture of full-blown pituitary dwarfism is readily diagnosed clinically. The signs and symptoms vary a great deal with the time of onset and the extent of the lesions, and the underlying pathologic state is not uniform.
Recently the determination of sex hormones, including the 17-keto steroids and the follicle-stimulating hormone, has become of great importance in the diagnosis of endocrinopathies, particularly in differentiating between panhypopituitarism and hypogonadism. Such a method, however, is not always practical and necessitates special and expensive laboratory equipment. Simpler laboratory tests are desirable for the clinician. The dextrose tolerance test, for instance, is used routinely. The curve in hypopituitary conditions is expected to be flatter than the normal curve, and occasionally it starts on a low fasting level; both of these