Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD): Description, Causes and Risk Factors:Hormones are substance formed in a type of body organ called a gland. A hormone is then carried in the circulation to another organ or tissue where it has a specific effect. Growth hormone is a very important hormone that can influence your health in many ways. It is powerful enough to alter the way you look, feel, and function.Growth hormone 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. GH deficiency can occur at any age.Growth hormone deficiency is caused by low or absent secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. This can be caused by congenital or acquired 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.Riks Factors:Insufficient production of human growth hormone by the pituitary.
Insufficient release of stimulatory hormone from the hypothalamus.
Defects in the receptors that receive the hormone in the cells of body.
Decrease in IGF-1 hormones.
A lack of oxygen at birth.
Sometimes it may happen because of a genetic defect, which in some instances may also be hereditary.
Abnormalities in the hormone receptors.
Diseases in the pituitary gland, the brain or the liver.
An autoimmune attack.
Symptoms:Physical and psychological symptoms, including poor memory, social withdrawal, and even depression,loss of strength, stamina, and musculature,lowed or absent increase in height short stature,absent or delayed sexual development in an adolescent,headaches,excessive thirst with excessive urination,reduced muscle mass and strength,reduced bone mass and strength,reduced physical, mental, and social energy and resilience, increased amount of fat around the waist, delayed tooth development, delayed onset of puberty, low energy, decreased strength and exercise tolerance,thin and dry skin.Other Signs:Children with growth hormone deficiency have a slow rate of growth, usually less than 2inches per year. The slow growth may not appear until a child is 2 or 3 years old.Children with growth hormone deficiency still have normal body proportions, as well asnormal intelligence. However, their face often appears younger than children of the sameage. They may also have a chubby body build.Children with physical defects of the face and skull, such as cleft lip or cleft palate, canalso have decreased growth hormone levels.Physical maleffects of malformed bones vary according to the specific disease. Manyinvolve joint pain caused by abnormal bone alignment, or from nerve compression. Earlydegenerative joint disease, exaggerated lordosis or scoliosis can cause pain and disability.Other reductions in size can restrict lung growth and reduce pulmonary function. Somemore severe forms of dwarfism are associated with disordered function of other organs,such as the brain or liver.Diagnosis:If there is a question of growth hormone deficiency in either a child or an adult, consultation with a pediatric or adult endocrinologist, as appropriate, is recommended.Tests:A physical examination including weight, height, and body proportions will show signs ofslowed growth rate. The child will not follow the normal growth curves.
Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans can also determine bone age.
Hand x-ray (usually the left hand) can determine bone age. Normally, the size and shapeof bones change as a person grows. These changes can be seen on an x-ray and usuallyfollow a pattern as a child grows older.
Measuring growth hormone and binding protein levels (IGF-I and IGFBP-3) will showwhether the growth problem is caused by a problem with the pituitary gland.
MRI of the head can show the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.
Tests to measure other hormone levels (lack of growth hormone may not be the onlyproblem) may be done.
X-ray of the head may show problems with the skull.
Treatment:Because growth hormone deficiency can cause a lack of energy and strength, patients should eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise, and get plenty of sleep.Growth hormone deficiency is treated by growth hormone replacement. The goals of treatment are to increase growth in children and restore energy, metabolism, and body composition. Usually, somatropin (Humatrope, Genotropin, Norditropin, Nutropin, Saizen, TevTropin) is the growth hormone prescribed by doctors.Radiation therapy to the pituitary gland may be required if surgery for tumor removal cannot be safely accomplished.NOTE: The above information is for processing purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.
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