The pituitary gland located at the base of the brain produces many important hormones. Out of that, growth hormone is an important hormone that is needed for growth and development, specially in childhood. If a child is deficient in growth hormone then their growth is reduced and they fail to reach their final adult height.
Unknown– In most children the cause is unknown.
Congenital– The defect can be present at birth which is congenital i.e. during brain development.
Acquired – it may be acquired later on in life due to infections, brain injury or brain tumor and its treatment etc.
Genetic -It also may be due to certain genes related to growth hormone production.
Defects in the pituitary gland affecting GH secretion.
Signs and symptoms
Growth hormone deficiency does not affect intrauterine growth. The child maybe mild yellowish at birth or may have low sugar level. From the age of two onwards the child grows slowly compared to other children of the same age. The child is small with normal skeletal proportion, intelligence and looks chubby and younger than their age.
Deficiency of other hormones like thyroid and adrenal glands also should be looked for.
Most of childhood onset GH deficiency cases are not inherited.3% siblings maybe affected.
Your doctor at Idea clinics will identify your child’s condition by:
- Growth chart plotting show slow growth compared to other children of the same age.
- Blood tests to detect abnormalities of thyroid, kidneys, liver and nutrition.
- Measurement of the hormone insulin-like growth factor-1 is a good indicator of GH deficiency.
- Stimulating the release of growth hormone in children and blood tests in the following 2-3 hours.
- X-ray left wrist to estimate time remaining for complete growth.
It is available in the injectable form that is to be given subcutaneously under the skin during the evening hours. The dose will depend on the weight and height of the child that will be decided by your doctor at Idea clinics. It needs timely and regular monitoring.
- Pain and soreness at injection site
- Muscle and joint pains
- Fluid retention
The earlier the treatment is started, the better the chance that a child will grow to near-normal adult height. This will give enough time for catch up growth. If not diagnosed and left untreated, growth hormone deficiency may lead to short stature and delayed puberty. There are specialists present at idea clinics who will help you out by regular follow ups. It is now known that it is better to continue growth hormone treatment up to the age of 25 to help build an adequate bone and muscle mass, increase energy levels and thus establish a sensation of well-being.