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Growth Hormone Deficiency

Facts on Growth Hormone Deficiency

  • Growth hormone (GH) deficiency is a disorder that involves the pituitary gland (a small gland located at the base of the brain), which produces growth hormone and other hormones.
  • When the pituitary gland does not produce enough growth hormone, growth will be slower than normal.
  • Growth hormone is needed for normal growth 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.
  • Cholesterol may also be affected. Adults with growth hormone deficiency usually have a history of pituitary tumors that may have been treated with surgery or radiation.
  • GH deficiency can occur at any age.

What Causes Growth Hormone Deficiency?

Patient Comments

Growth hormone deficiency is caused by low or absent secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. This can be caused by congenital (a condition that is present at birth) or acquired (a condition that occurs after birth) conditions. Congenital growth hormone deficiency may be associated with an abnormal pituitary gland, or it may be part of another syndrome. In normal aging, there is a decrease in the amount of growth hormone secreted each day and in the pattern of secretion. It is not clear if this is clinically important or requires any additional administration. Acquired causes of growth hormone deficiency include infections; brain tumors; and injury, surgery, or radiation to the head. In some cases, no causes can be identified.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/21/2017
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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Growth Hormone Deficiency in Children:

Growth Hormone Deficiency in Children - Cause

What was the cause of your child's growth hormone deficiency?

Growth Hormone Deficiency in Children - 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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