What is Growth Disorder?
We live in a world full of diversity. This diversity exists in the form of race, language, color, sex, etc. In fact, the physical appearance of no two persons in the world is alike. Some may be short, while others may be tall. This diversity depends on a number of factors- genetic factors, nutrition, lifestyle, etc. But, when this diversity is a bit unusual, it becomes a disorder. Growth disorder is one such disorder in which one witnesses the abnormal growth of the child- either too fast or too slow.
CATEGORIES OF GROWTH DISORDER
Depending on the various causes of growth disorder, it can be categorized under three heads. These are:
Primary growth disorder
This is the most common growth disorder resulting from problems associated with growth process Generally, this disorder involves faulty genes inherited from the parents. This implies that the disorder exists by birth itself. Other reasons may also exist. Examples of this kind of disorder are Turner’s syndrome (a chromosomal condition affecting females only), Noonan’s syndrome (condition preventing normal growth of various parts of the body), Achondroplasia (condition of dwarfism caused due to the abnormal growth of cartilage), etc.
Secondary growth disorder
This is another kind of disorder resulting from the problems caused by external agencies. These external factors include illnesses, medications, nutrition, hormonal disorder Since this disorder is acquired due to external factors, it is treatable. Thyroid disease, Crohn’s disease, etc. are some of the examples of secondary growth disorder.
Idiopathic growth disorder
“Idiopathic” literally means disease arising for which the cause is unknown. So, idiopathic growth disorder is another category of growth disorder where the cause of the disorder is unknown. Neither the disease occurs because of any genetic disorder or because of any external factor.
CAUSES OF GROWTH DISORDER
The aforementioned categories of disorders which we have already discussed reflect the various causes of growth disorder in human beings. Apart from this, other chronic diseases like Asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, etc.; endocrine disorders like hypopituitarism, delayed puberty, etc. contribute to the disorder.
DISEASES CAUSING GROWTH DISORDER-
Following are the diseases affecting growth and responsible for the disorder-
- Endocrine diseases– These are the diseases which involve hormonal imbalance i.e. either deficiency or excess. These include Growth hormone deficiency, Hypothyroidism.
- Turner Syndrome– this disease is commonly found in girls having an abnormal X chromosome.
- Cushing’s syndrome-This disease causes an excessive increase in body weight while the height remains static.
- Russell Silver Syndrome– This disease causes problems from the womb itself and might result in discrepancies sort of leg length.
- Achondroplasia– This disease is characterized by short limbs, enlarged head, and average height.
- Bone disorders– The improper functioning of the bones and cartilage might result in growth disorder.
- Heart disease– The various heart diseases lower the metabolism rate of the body and result in growth disorders.
SYMPTOMS OF GROWTH DISORDER
As the term “growth disorder” suggests, the most obvious symptom of the disease is the abnormal growth- it may be fast or slow. Many times, the symptom is clear since birth, because the infant is of abnormal size according to his/her age. However, in some cases, the symptoms become clear only after some time has elapsed. So, it is always advisable to consult the doctor.
DIAGNOSIS OF GROWTH DISORDER
Well, the diagnosis of any disease is very important for further treatment strategies to be adopted. Same as with a growth disorder. The doctor generally adopts the following strategies to diagnose growth disorder:
- Blood tests may be taken. This will help in highlighting those chromosomes or hormones which are responsible for this condition of the child.
- The pituitary gland may be examined. Since this gland is the repository of the production and secretion of growth hormones, therefore its proper examination might help in reaching the root of the disease.
- Bone Age test might be conducted. The X-Ray of the bones helps in finding out as to how much have the bones matured.
- A physical examination can be performed. This involves measuring height and weight and marking it on the chart and then comparing it.
These were some of the best possible methods to diagnose the disease.
TREATMENT OF GROWTH DISORDER
The treatment of growth disorder depends on the cause of it.
If it is genetic, then the doctor tries to find the best possible solution. But if it is secondary growth disorder, the treatment is very well possible.
The treatment depends on the illness or medical condition a child is suffering from. For example, if the patient is suffering from any bone disease which hampers his growth, he should be provided with calcium and Vitamin D supplements. In case of any celiac disease, a gluten-free diet should be added to the daily routine. Similarly, a child having any heart disease or Russell-Silver Syndrome should be given foods rich in calories as it will elevate the metabolism rate. The short stature caused because of hypothyroidism should be treated with levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone. The problem of delayed puberty can be solved through proper hormone treatment.
When finding such similar symptoms in you or anyone else that you know, you should consult help from the best dietician in Delhi. Apart from this, a well-balanced diet served with love and care is the best therapy.