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Growth Disorders in Children

2024/05/20
What Are Growth Disorders

Differences in growth and maturation among children are common. While some children might grow taller than their peers during primary school, others may experience a growth spurt later.  

However, it is important to differentiate between normal variations in growth and growth disorders, which can cause significantly slower or faster growth compared to other children of the same age.

Causes of Growth Disorders

Growth disorders can be due to a variety of underlying issues. While many children with below-average or average height are healthy, others may have underlying conditions affecting growth. These include

  • Chromosomal abnormalities
  • Hormonal system disorders, including issues of growth hormone secretion
  • Bone disorders
  • Chronic diseases.

Identifying and treating these conditions early can help children reach their full growth potential.

Signs And Symptoms Of Growth Disorders

Children whose height falls between the 3rd and 97th percentile and who maintain a consistent growth rate are typically considered to have normal growth patterns. However, a child growing less than 4 cm per year might have a growth disorder and should be evaluated for possible growth hormone deficiency.

Diagnosis And Treatment Options For Growth Disorders

For children suspected of having a growth hormone deficiency, a growth hormone stimulation test is conducted. This involves an exercise test where the child runs on a treadmill for 10 minutes, with blood samples taken before and after the exercise. Further tests, such as the glucagon growth hormone stimulation test or insulin tolerance test, may follow if the initial test indicates a deficiency.

Treatment varies based on the underlying cause. Growth hormone therapy is an option for certain conditions such as:

  • Growth hormone deficiency
  • Turner Syndrome
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Intrauterine growth retardation
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Idiopathic short stature.
Tips For Minimising Risk Of Growth Disorders In Children

A child's maximum growth potential is influenced by genetics, diet, sleep and physical activity. To support optimal growth, ensure your child consumes a balanced diet and gets sufficient sleep and exercise.

Research On Growth Disorders In Children

Continued clinical research is essential for advancing paediatric healthcare. Our doctors are committed to contributing to the future of child health and medicine through both clinical practice and research.

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