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Growth Hormone Deficiency FAQs (cont.)


What are the symptoms of growth hormone deficiency?

Patient Comments

The most common sign of growth hormone deficiency in children is the slowing of growth to less than two inches per year. A child with growth hormone deficiency may also have the following symptoms:

  • Short height for child's age
  • Increased fat around the waist and in the face
  • Feeling upset about his or her height
  • The child may look younger than other children his or her age
  • Delayed onset of puberty
  • Delayed tooth development

Adults with growth hormone deficiency may have the following symptoms:

How is growth hormone deficiency diagnosed?

For children, the doctor will ask about the child's medical history. If the child's height and weight have been plotted on a growth chart, the doctor will evaluate if the child's growth appears to be leveling off or departing from the child's established growth curve. Past growth patterns are important in determining if the child has a growth problem; the earlier a problem is detected, the earlier it can be treated (if possible) and the better the chance the child has at reaching his or her full growth potential.

The doctor may perform blood tests to determine if a hormone deficiency or other disease is present. X-rays may also be taken to check how the child's bone size compares to the child's height and chronological age.

In adults, blood tests may be performed to determine if a hormone deficiency is present. Adults with growth hormone deficiency may also have increased levels of total cholesterol, low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, and triglycerides. Other tests that may be performed include CT scan and/or MRI of the brain and/or bones. Images from these tests may reveal tumors or reduced bone density.

How is growth hormone deficiency treated?

Patient Comments

Growth hormone deficiency can be treated with growth hormone replacement therapy. A drug called somatropin or growth hormone (Nutropin, Genotropin, Norditropin, Saizen, Humatrope, Tev-tropin, Omnitrope) is injected into the fat underneath the skin.

Last Reviewed 11/20/2017

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Growth Hormone Deficiency FAQs:

Growth Hormone Deficiency - Patient Experience

Does your child have growth hormone deficiency? Please describe your experience.

Growth Hormone Deficiency - Treatment

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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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