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Growth Hormone Deficiency FAQs

What is growth hormone deficiency?

Growth hormone deficiency is a disorder that involves the pituitary gland (a small gland located at the base of the brain). This gland produces growth hormone and other hormones (chemical messengers of the body). When it does not produce enough growth hormone, growth will be slower than normal. If other pituitary hormones are absent or present in inadequate amounts, the condition is called hypopituitarism.

Growth hormone deficiency can occur at any age. Growth hormone is necessary for normal growth and development in children. In adults, growth hormone is needed to maintain the proper amounts of body fat, muscle, and bone. In adults, low or absent growth hormone can also cause emotional symptoms, such as tiredness and lack of motivation.

What causes growth hormone deficiency?

Growth hormone deficiency is caused by low or absent secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. This condition may be present at birth, or it may develop after birth due to trauma, infections, radiation to the head, or other conditions (for example, tumors).

Adults with growth hormone deficiency usually have a history of pituitary tumors that may have been treated with surgery or radiation.

In some cases, no cause can be identified.

The Endocrine System
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Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/23/2016

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Growth Hormone Deficiency »

Many European paintings, particularly those of the Spanish Court, portray people with extremely short stature who may have had growth hormone deficiency (GHD).

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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