It can be hard not to worry when a child appears substantially shorter than other children their age. And in rare cases, the stature can be short reason for concern, especially if growth rate of a child is suddenly slows down for no apparent reason or seems to stop growing altogether; in other words, it develops at a steady pace, but suddenly falls off the growth curve.
For example, if a child is in the fifth percentile for his height (ie 95% of children his age are taller than him), this is not considered a problem in itself. However, if you go from the fifth to the first percentile, more things could happen. You may have a genetic disorder, a subactive thyroid gland or even a medical condition that affects its development.
However, usually a child who falls behind their peers in terms of height has a condition called idiopathic short stature, which means that short stature occurs for no known reason. Because this is not a health issue, there is not much to do. However, in some circumstances, parents may choose to treat a young child with growth hormone therapy, a long-term treatment that stimulates growth in children who have a specific hormonal deficiency, or a health condition that prevents growth.
Growth hormones 101
Hormones are chemicals produced by certain organs of the body, mainly the endocrine and pituitary glands. The pituitary gland is responsible for the production of hormones that promote the growth of body tissues.
Growth hormone (GH), also known as somatotropin, is one of these hormones. Stimulates growth by increasing the levels of glucose, free fatty acids and IGF-1 (a fundamental protein for raising a child). This allows cells to regenerate and develop muscles, bones and other vital tissues. Other hormones produced by the pituitary gland that contribute to normal growth and development include thyroid stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of GH to treat children who are older in their age group due to chronic kidney disease, Prader-Willi syndrome, Turner syndrome, Noonan syndrome and others. .
Decide if growth hormone therapy is right for your baby
If you are considering GH therapy for your child, here are some things to consider:
Growth hormone therapy is a long-term commitment. Growth hormone is given daily by injection, although some conditions may require only three injections a week. Most often, treatment is prescribed over several years and can continue as long as there is growth potential. In addition to growth hormone, a child may need to receive other hormones to maintain his or her overall balance.
It can be expensive. The cost of growth hormone therapy can range from $ 10,000 to $ 40,000 a year and is rarely covered by health insurance, unless it is needed as part of the treatment of a serious medical condition. Even then, it may take a lot of effort for your insurance company to approve a long-term treatment.
GH therapy will not make your child as tall as a basketball star. If you are considering growth hormones for your baby, it is important to discuss with your doctor your expectations, including how high your baby could earn; On average, growth hormone therapy can add 1 to 3 inches as a child approaches adulthood. .
It is also important to consider your attitudes about short stature along with those of your child when deciding whether growth hormone therapy is a smart choice. If you have negative feelings about short , no amount of growth hormone can change them, so if your baby is healthy, you may not want to treat him. If you do this, it may be important to focus increase your self-esteem . Growth hormone therapy will make you taller than you could be without it, but it can still be lower than average.