When Can One Be Suspected To Be Suffering From A Growth Disorder?

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When Can One Be Suspected To Be Suffering From A Growth Disorder?

At any age, most children have a waist size close to the median for that age. This, by definition, is what median means – a curve that has some children with high waist size and some with low, while most are towards the center. The smaller the size within the range for a particular age group, the lower the number of children with that waist size. Similarly, the height of children of different ages can be assessed using growth curves for children of the same race and sex. A child of a small waist size or height for its age may be suspected of having a growth disorder caused by a disease, especially if its parents or siblings have a normal waist or height. A child may also not be particularly small, but could have grown too little recently, at a rate much less than 5 cm per year. For such children, many specialists recommend growth hormone (GH) treatments. Since we are talking of children, the doses administered are kept very low, in order to avoid accidental overdosing.

Growth hormone, secreted by specialized cells located in the pituitary gland, is the main hormone involved in postnatal growth. Lately, recombinant human growth hormone synthesis has been achieved through molecular biology technologies. Among children with growth disorder are children with a full or partial growth hormone deficiency. These children can be diagnosed by specific hormonal tests.

If the child is harmoniously developed, even if small, and its intellect is normal, growth hormone deficiency is isolated, and the low growth is found to be not associated with other deficits like thyroid hormone deficiency. Recombinant growth hormone therapy is effective, accelerating the growth rate of children found to have a growth hormone deficiency, resulting in normal growth at a rate of 10-15 cm per year, and helping recovery from stature handicap. Growth hormone is given daily, intradermally, with an atraumatic needle, similar to insulin therapy, so that HGH dosage is bypassed, always taking safety precautions.

Growth hormone therapy is not only reserved for children with growth hormone deficiency (also known as pituitary nodules) but also for other children suffering from growth disorders without a growth hormone deficiency – genetic syndromes such as Turner’s Syndrome Noonan, or children with intrauterine growth retardation who have not recovered from stature-related disability for the first 3 years after birth.

Paul Petersen

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