Growth Deficiency is a syndrome that will negatively affect many children around the globe. Growth deficiency syndrome is a medical term for children who do not vertically grow at the standard rate for their age group (Hardin 1). They typically fall into the fiftieth percentile on a growth curve test, which is far below their peers. This syndrome is caused by a lower than normal level of two hormones [that] strictly regulate [the growing] process: growth hormone (GH), secreted by the pituitary gland within the brain; and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), produced by the liver upon stimulation by GH (Zhang 1).
When these hormones surge and circulate the body they are responsible for the majority of our adolescent development. When circulating the body both of theses hormones tell the long bones in your body to add more layers at the growth plates. When they reach the growth plates they elicit a response to extend the length of the bones and allowing the vertical growing process to take place (Zhang 1). These hormones are the reason we change so dramatically when we are babies until we reach our late teens or early twenties.
Children with growth deficiency do not have an adequate supply of GH of IGF-1 signals in their body. With no GH or IGF-1 signal the bones will not signal to grow.Â If there is no growth in the bones the height the child will reach will be far below the other children in their class. This shortage of hormone leaves them unable to obtain vertical height equivalent to their peers and what would be considered medically appropriate for their age (Mediline 1).
If left untreated at an early age the child will finish puberty (roughly the age of 18) and their growth plates close and GH and IGF-1 can no longer stimulate the bones to lengthen. At this time the growth deficient child, who is now becoming an adult, will be unable to achieve height due to the growth plates fusing and closing. At this time the child will forever remain shorter than their age group for the remainder of their lives (Hardin 1).
Copyright © 2012 Devin Stone and Alex Martin MD, Los Angeles
1. Hardin, Dana S. “Treatment of Short Stature and Growth Hormone Deficiency in Children with Somatotropin.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
2. Zhang, Xin. “How HGH Therapy Can Make Your Child Grow Stronger and Taller.” MetroMD Institute of Regenerative Medicine. MetroMD Institute of Regenerative Medicine, 14 Feb. 2012. Web. 11 Dec. 2012.
3. “Growth Hormone Deficiency – Children: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.