Short stature refers to any child who has a height well below what is normal for that child’s age and sex. The term is applied to children whose height, when plotted on a growth curve, is below the line marking the third or fifth percentile.It is important for parents to know that there are many reasons for slow growth and below-average height in children.
Common normal variants of short stature areFamilial short stature (One or both parents are short)and Constitutional delay in growth and puberty.Medical conditions affecting growth include chronic diseases; growth hormone deficiency; hypothyroidism; poor nutrition; babies born small for gestational age; and some genetic disorders.
Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is a rare condition in which the body does not make enough growth hormone (GH). Without enough GH, a child is likely to grow slowly and be much shorter than other children of the same age and gender. Some children are born with GHD.
Others develop it after birth due to a brain injury, a tumor, or radiation treatment to the head. For some children, there is no cause.
Children with GHD receive treatment with daily injections of synthetic (manufactured) human GH. The GH, given at home, is injected under the skin. The best results occur when GHD is diagnosed and treated early.