Short Stature in Children: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Short stature refers to a condition in which the weight of a child is lower than that of other kids of the same age. Although this condition can also occur in adults, the term short stature is much more applicable to kids.

Note that your child might be significantly shorter than other of the same age and still be healthy. This often the case where both the mother and father are short compared to other adults of the same age. So, genetics is an important determinant when it comes to your child’s height.

In some other case, short stature is often an indication that your child has underlying medical issues. In such a case, most kids attain normal height with treatment. For a few others, short stature is not treatable.

Causes of short stature

The main causes of short stature in children include genetics, diseases, and constitutional growth delay.

Constitution delay

Some kids grow a little slower than others. Such kids are normally referred to as late bloomers. They are often much smaller and will approach puberty later than others of the same age. But, they often continue to grow even when their peers reach the deceleration phase. Late bloomers attain a normal height in adulthood.

Genetics

Sometimes one parent is short while in other cases it is both. Either way, there is a huge likelihood that the child will become short as well. If there are no health issues involved, the child’s height will be a case of genetics and this is perfectly okay.

Diseases

Several diseases might cause your child to have short stature. Such diseases can be categorized as endocrine diseases, chronic illness, genetic issues, and skeletal disease.

Endocrine disease is common in kids whose hormone production is affected, which causes a child not to attain normal height. When this happens, your child may suffer growth hormone deficiency, low thyroid hormone or even hyperthyroidism. Other diseases that might affect your child’s height include Cushing’s disease.

Chronic diseases are also known tointerfere with your child’s growth due to their effects on health in general. Examples include heart disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, asthma, kidney issues, diabetes, and sickle cell anemia.

A child can also suffer from genetic issues that will cause poor growth. Common examples include Turner syndrome, William’s syndrome and Down’s syndrome. Skeletal issues can also cause your child to develop poorly. These issues affect the bones and often manifest as achondroplasia, which causes a child to have short stature.

Diagnosis

Your child’s doctor will take weight, height and limb length measurements. He will also want to know about your family’s health history and that of the child as well.

In case the doctor suspects an underlying medical condition, he will order additional tests that will include X-ray of your child’s growth plates, check for Growth hormone disorder, blood count, DNA analysis, imaging scans to check for presence of tumors and a blood count to find out if there are kidney or liver problems.

Treatment options for children with short stature

Treatment often dependents on the underlying cause of short stature. If the doctor suspects that your child’s short stature is due to a deficiency in thyroid hormone, he will prescribe hormone replacement therapy.

Your child’s doctor will schedule treatment to get rid of Growth hormone deficiency and a number of other growth disorders like chronic kidney failure and turner syndrome. To encourage normal growth in a child with short stature, doctors tend to administer Growth Hormone for children. Not only is Growth Hormone for children effective at rejuvenating growth, but you will also see a change in your child’s growth after a few sessions of treatment.

Growth Hormone for children easily available as well, but you can seek the help of your doctor if is not easily available in your area.

The long-term outlook for children with short stature

Childrenwho have short stature than cannot be attributed to any health condition will have healthy and normal lives. However, children with growth hormone disorders and any other growth-related condition can attain average or parental height if treatment for short stature begins before they reach puberty.

If short stature is because of skeletal or genetic diseases, your child will be short for life. Such a child is likely to experience self-esteem and confidence issues. As a parent, it would help to work on your child’s confidence. Your child might experience bullying in school and might find it impossible to make friends.  Let the child know that it is okay to be short.

Final Word

Short stature is quite common in kids due to the issues we have listed in this article. Thankfully, some of the causes, like growth hormone disorder, are treatable as long as your doctor prescribes a solution before your child reached puberty. Others causes of short stature, like genetic illness, cannot be treated and your child is likely to be short for life.

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