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Growth Problems

Learn about the different types of growth disorders

There are a variety of different growth problems that affect human beings. They are generally characterized as those who are much shorter or taller than an average sized person of the same age. Some growth problems are discovered at birth, while others are noticed when the child is old enough to attend school; it's easier to see that a child is taller or shorter than their peers.

Growth Problem Causes

Most growth disorders come from certain causes including disease, malnutrition and genetics. Growth rates less than two inches per year are often classified as being a growth problem. Some of the key growth problems include:

  • Familial short stature. This is the tendency to follow a genetically inherited short stature from your family.
  • Constitutional growth delay/delayed adolescence/delayed maturation. A shorter-than-average child who also enters puberty at a later time yet grows at a normal growth rate may just have a growth delay and will eventually grow to the same height as their parents.
  • Systemic diseases. These include constant malnutrition, diabetes, heart and lung diseases and digestive tract disease which may result in growth disorders.
  • Endocrine or hormone diseases. This occurs when the thyroid doesn't properly regulate the production of the necessary hormone for the creation of normal bone growth. Also known as hypothyroidism.
  • Congenital problems. These are growth problems evident at birth, occurring within bone tissues. Other genetic conditions include Turner syndrome and dwarfism (also known as dwarfism endocrinology).

Growth Problem Treatment

In order to have proper treatment, the growth disorder needs to first be correctly diagnosed. A medical diagnosis consists of blood tests, health and growth observation of the patient over time, bone X-rays and observing the pituitary gland. People who have a human growth hormone deficiency, like those with pituitary dwarfism, can be treated with growth hormone injections to encourage positive development. Hypothyroidism symptoms are typically treated with thyroid tablets.

Each type of disorder has a specific treatment type that must be determined by a physician based on the extent of the condition, medical history and overall health of the patient.

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