Children don’t always grow as big as their parents. If the cause of short stature is to be found because the children suffer from a pronounced growth hormone deficiency, they can only reach a height (height) of approx—130 to 150 cm without treatment.
With a growth disorder, the physical and usually also the entire psychosocial development of the child is impaired.
Short stature – an often underestimated problem
Which body size is “normal” for a child is primarily determined by the genetic specifications of the parents. So children should be about the same size as their parents. Sometimes children lag in growth, i.e. their height remains behind. The growth disorder is recognized as early as possible, and that there is enough time to intervene therapeutically.
Characteristic symptoms of short stature
- Proportional short stature with delayed bone maturation
- Small hands and feet
- Doll-like face
- Obesity, based on body height (trunk obesity)
- Muscles poorly developed
- Thin skin, light voice
- Often small penis in boys
- Occurrence of hypoglycaemia (especially in young children)
Every child is measured at the preventive or school check-ups, and consequently, stunted growth should also be detected at an early stage. However, the data collected is often not analyzed, and any lasting damage that may occur is not recognized early enough. Further examinations must be carried out for every child whose body length or height is below the 3rd percentile of the norm or whose growth rate is significantly slower than the age norm.
Essentially, average growth depends on the following factors:
- Of course, the height a child or adolescent reaches is significantly influenced by the genetic potential: Small parents will have smaller offspring than larger parents.
- Adequate nutrition and the absence of serious illnesses are prerequisites for average growth: malnutrition and chronic severe diseases lead to a shortage.
- Growth can also be disturbed by lacking affection and love or social integration.
- Likewise, environmental influences – e.g. nicotine or alcohol abuse by the mother during pregnancy – can cause short stature.
- Last but not least, the body’s hormonal system has to function correctly for growth to proceed well. The most crucial hormone in terms of height gain is growth hormone.
Short hormonal stature can be remedied
In the case of short hormonal stature, one or more hormones necessary for growth are largely or entirely missing. This deficiency can be due to very different congenital causes or causes that only appear in childhood. The growth hormone of the pituitary gland and the thyroid hormones are crucial for controlling growth. To prove a growth hormone deficiency, serial determinations of the growth hormone level in the blood must be carried out – possibly after stimulation with pharmaceuticals like serostim hgh. In contrast to all other forms of short stature, a growth hormone deficiency can be treated casually. If treatment is started early, affected children can reach an average height by the end of the growing period if the missing hormone is supplied.