A child or adolescent is short-statured when her/his height is below average compared to children of the same age and sex. Since height is determined genetically, a child is normally shorter if one or both parents are below average height. Some children may be small for their age but continue to grow when their peer group have stopped growing. This is called ‘Constitutional Growth Delay’. However, short stature may be associated with underlying medical conditions.
Causes of Short Stature
The medical conditions that cause short stature include:
- Bone disorders (Rickets or achondroplasia)
- Growth hormone deficiency
- Poor development in the womb
- Certain genetic conditions such as Turner’s syndrome, Down’s syndrome, William’s syndrome, etc.
- Chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, thyroid disorders, kidney disease, etc.
Diagnosis of Short Stature
Your doctor will measure your child’s weight, limb length, height and ask about their medical history and family history. Certain diagnostic tests may be ordered including:
- Complete blood count
- Thyroid function test
- Test for Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD)
- Blood test to check the functioning of liver, kidney or immune system
- Bone X-ray
Your doctor may suggest the use of growth charts to monitor your child’s height for a specific period of time.
Treatment of Short Stature
Treatment option depends on the cause and may include:
- Nutritious diet
- Avoiding certain medications which may hinder the growth
- Growth hormone therapy
- Low-dose testosterone therapy
- Thyroid hormone replacement therapy