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All About Growth Hormone Deficiency

Dr. R.S. Saini 90% (8451 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine
Internal Medicine Specialist, Faridabad  •  13 years experience
All About Growth Hormone Deficiency

Growth hormone or somatropin is responsible for cell growth as well as reproduction. But insufficient somatropin production by the pituitary gland may result in lack in height. It is mostly caused by a serious brain injury, any prevalent medical condition or might occur as a birth defect.

Types:

  1. Congenital GHD - This form of GHD appears from at the time of birth itself.
  2. Acquired GHD- GHD can be acquired during later life as a result of trauma, infection, tumor growth within the brain or radiation therapy.
  3. Idiopathic GHD- Idiopathic GHD is the third, and comparatively worst kind of GHD since it has no treatment.

GHD is mostly permanent, but can also be transient. Read on to know how to detect whether you or your child is suffering from growth hormone deficiency (GHD).

Symptoms:
Childhood onset

  1. Restricted height- Compared to other children of your child's age, he/she may be of shorter height, which is a rather conclusive sign to detect somatropin deficiency.
  2. Chubby and comparatively younger appearance- Your child may have a proportionate body, but if he/she is unnaturally chubby and has a baby-face compared to other children, he/she may be suffering from GHD.
  3. Late puberty- Your child's puberty maybe later than usual or even not appear at all, depending upon the gravity of the GHD.
  4. Hypoglycemia and exaggerated jaundice- Low blood sugar is amongst the most primary manifestations of GHD, along with extended duration of jaundice.
  5. Micro-penis- Micro penis condition is one of the incident signs of GHD, which later escalates to growth deficit as the infant gets older.

Adult onset:

  1. Fatigue- Adults with GHD may experience extreme tiredness throughout the day, with reduced muscle strength.
  2. Osteoporosis- Osteoporosis, along with bodily deformities, is a common sign in adults with GHD.
  3. Lipid abnormalities- A test of your lipid profile may reveal abnormalities in LDL cholesterol, insulin resistance, and impaired cardiac functions.

Tests to determine GHD:

  1. Physical test- A chart is drawn to determine the proportion of height and weight with respect to your age to detect anomalies.
  2. Hand X-ray- A hand X-ray can determine whether the age of bones are at par with your age.
  3. MRI-MRI scan can determine the health of your brain and pituitary gland.
  4. Test for other hormones- Growth Hormone may not be solely responsible for your health condition, so it is important to determine if other hormone levels are all normal.

Treatment:

  1. Hormone supplements- Hormone supplements like corticosteroids (hydrocortisone or prednisone), Levothyroxine (levoxyl, synthroid, etc), and others work to replenish the deficiency of pituitary hormones.
  2. Growth hormone injection- GH is injected beneath your skin, to cure GDH. This is a long-term treatment and requires constant monitoring.
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