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Growth Hormone Deficiency in Children (cont.)

Diagnosis of Growth Hormone Deficiency in Children

  • The doctor will ask about the patient's medical history. The doctor may also ask about the heights of the child's parents and other family members.
  • The doctor may ask about growth and maturation (the process of becoming fully developed) in family members.
  • The doctor may ask about the child's past growth patterns. These can be obtained from the doctor's office, schools, or even measurements taken at home.
  • The doctor may take measurements of the child's height and weight. The best way to evaluate height and weight measurements is to plot them on a growth chart. A growth chart shows the child's growth over a period of time. This allows the child's measurements to be compared with the measurements of other children that are his or her exact age.
  • The doctor or health care professional may perform tests to rule out other causes of growth delay:
    • Thyroxin and thyroid-stimulating hormone levels to test for hypothyroidism (decreased production of thyroid hormone)
    • Serum electrolytes to test for certain kidney conditions
    • A complete blood count
    • Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) (proteins that depend on growth hormone and are involved in producing the effects of growth hormone)
  • X-rays may be obtained to check the child's bone maturation.
  • A test to check the child's growth hormone secretion may be performed. Insulin may be given by IV to stimulate growth hormone secretion. Measurements of growth hormone may then be obtained over several hours.
  • A karyotype (a study of a person's chromosomes) may be performed in girls to rule out Turner syndrome. Occasionally a karyotype may be performed on boys, as well.
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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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