If you have recently noticed that your child is not growing as fast as his/her classmates or has growing at all, it could be result of short stature condition. While there is no reason panic you should definitely take some steps to make sure that your child achieves her optimum height while there is still time for her to do so.
What is Short Stature Condition?
While the term short stature can be applied to everyone, it is commonly used in reference to children. It means when a child’s height is below average compared to their peers.
As we all know that height is determined by genetics, so if both of parents are shorter than average, there’s a good chance that child will also be short. In this case she can be perfectly healthy and still have a less than average height.
In some cases the short height could be because of an underlying medical problem which once diagnosed and treated can lead the child to grow to a normal height.
According to American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, if a child’s height is within lowest two percentile of their peer group he or she is considered to be of short stature
What causes short stature?
Even though a short stature could be a sign of a health problem, most of the children who have short stature are healthy.
There are three major reasons for a child to not grow normally. These are genetics, constitutional growth delay and disease
Genetics are one of the major factors that decide our height. In case one of both parents are short, there is a possibility that the child’s height will be less than average. In this case the child’s short stature can be perfectly healthy.
Constitutional Growth and Puberty Delay
The second reason is that the child will develop later than his or her peers. These kids are late bloomers. They enter puberty a little late than others. But they will continue to grow even when other their age have stopped growing and will grow up to an average height
Short Stature can also be caused by some diseases. Some of these diseases could affect hormone production and hence height growth while others could impact the overall health which would again mean a reduced height growth.
Again the health of a child can be compromised if there are any problems during pregnancy. Lack of nutrition can also lead to a short stature.
Idiopathic short stature
When the child is healthy and there is not cause that can be identified
What tests are used to asses the short stature condition in a child?
The best way to asses the short stature condition is to monitor the growth of the child by using a growth chart. You can do it over a period of six month and if you find that the growth is normal, you might not need to do any more tests.
Apart from this the doctor can check a child’s bone age which can help to find out how tall a child will be.
If the child is growing unusually slow , the doctor will do tests to find out the underlying condition
When Should I Seek Medical Attention?
If you feel your child is growing slowly as compared to his classmates, do consult a doctor who will advise you whether there is an underlying cause. This could take time so its very important to have checkups at regular intervals.
Only a doctor can determine whether your child’s short stature has a medical cause. This process takes time. That’s why it’s very important to have regular checkups with a family doctor or pediatrician.