Poor growth development maybe the first sign of diseases associated with the heart, lungs, kidneys, bones or other bodily system that affect growth.

Some growth disorders include:

  • Growth hormone deficiency is when the pituitary gland is not producing enough hormones due to malfunction or damage.
  • Some illnesses that are known to affect the entire body such as diseases of the digestive tract, heart diseases, diabetes, and excessive stress.
  • Endocrine disease is when the chemical messengers (aka: hormones) are out of balance.
  • Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough hormones necessary for steady growth of the bones.
  • Turner syndrome is a common growth disorder that is genetic. Usually occurs in girls that have a missing or abnormal “X” chromosome. Turner syndrome occurs in 1 in 2,500 girls born.

Symptoms

Some pediatric growth disorders are noticed immediately at birth; however, most issues associated with growth are diagnosis much later when a child becomes school age.  Many symptoms of growth disorders may mimic other medical conditions; but, one of the main symptoms associated with pediatric growth disease is when your child grows less than two inches per year after their third birthday.

Diagnosis

Constant observation is the best way to properly diagnosis a growth disorder; however, blood tests are commonly conducted to check for abnormal chromosome or hormones.  Also, X-ray of bones are part of an extensive exam to form a proper diagnosis of pediatric growth diseases.

Treatment

An early diagnosis and treatment can help your child increase their final height and catch up with their peers.  If an underlying medical issue is identified, then targeting treatment of the underlying condition may result in improved growth.  For instance, if a growth disorder is due to hypothyroidism, growth should be resumed to normal speed once the thyroid hormone is replaced.

Some children may be very self-conscious about their short stature and may require some professional intervention in coping and boosting their self-esteem.  However, as a parent, positive reinforcement and focusing on other characteristics such as their personality, talents, and intelligence may help your child not dwell on their height being a main focus of social acceptance.