Dwarfism

Dwarfism is a genetic anomaly wherein a person, animal or plant has a considerably smaller size compared to what's common in its kind. Dwarfism in human species can have multiple causes for different types.

Growth Hormone Deficiency - The inadequate function of the anterior pituitary gland can provoke an insufficiency of the growth hormone during the body development. This situation leads to a kind of dwarfism known as growth hormone deficiency, affecting an individual to have an extremely short height, but with normal body proportions.

Achondroplasia - There is another form of dwarfism wherein bones or cartilages grow in an abnormal way and cause serious deformities. Achondroplasia (without cartilage formation) is a genetic disorder of the osseous growth, and it is evident since the time the affected person is born. It is the most common of the growth disorders, wherein affected individuals have a short stature with proportionally short arms and legs, large head with prominent forehead, and flattened bridge of nose. They may also have arched legs, abnormal looks on the hands, and reduced muscular tone.

Primordial Dwarfism is another type of dwarfism, and people with this syndrome have an extremely short height as an adult, less than a meter. Their heads and brains are smaller comparable to that of a 3 month-old baby. Their intelligence is often below average, but it can also be pretty normal.

Dwarfism is not a disease but a condition. This is a why persons who have this condition are able to live their daily lives normally just as anyone else.

Some cases of dwarfism can be treated with human growth hormone therapy, developed by genetic engineering. This growth hormone is produced by the anterior pituitary gland which is responsible for the production of growth hormones promoting the growth of the body tissues.

For kids who have the deficiency of this hormone, the synthetic hormone can be used, which requires assistance of an endocrinology pediatrician. Generally, this treatment is considered safe and side effects are quite rare. For kids who have been treated with growth hormones, their growing rates can improve; however the effects of the treatment can decrease with prolonged treatment.

Also, limb-lengthening surgery can have a vital role since this condition sometimes brings abnormal looks on some body parts, mostly arms, hands and legs; however it is always recommended to do it at a young age under a close supervision of a physician to avoid further problems.

 


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