6 Disorders that keep kids from growing taller

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Find out more about some of the most common disorders that can hinder a child's growth and affect their overall development

Are you worried that your child is delayed when it comes to height development? It's normal for kids to grow taller faster than others. Before they reach the age of one, babies usually grow 10 inches more and triple their weight at birth.

After they turn a year old, this growth pace slows down a bit. From age 2 onwards, they usually grow 2 and a half inches per year until they reach puberty. For girls, they usually experience growth spurts at age 8 to 13, while boys usually go through this at 10 to 15 years old.

A child's growth rate varies throughout childhood--weeks or even months of no changes can be punctuated with sudden growth spurts--so you shouldn't be too worried that there's something wrong if their classmates are taller than they are.

However, in some cases, the delayed growth can be a sign of an underlying disorder, which can only be confirmed by a pediatrician or a specialist. Here are six to consult your doctor about.

Osteomyelitis

Also known as an infection of the bone, this condition can actually happen at any age. It can be bacterial or fungal in origin. When it occurs in children, it usually affects the large long bones--the femur, tibia, and fibula--of the arms and legs. This infection can also be the result of sepsis, which is an infection of the bloodstream. Acute osteomyelitis can be treated early with antibiotics, but the more chronic kind of this condition is more difficult to manage. Chronic osteomyelitis can hinder normal bone growth and development and children.

Those with this condition experience bone pain, fever, chills, tiredness, and nausea. It is usually diagnosed through physical examination, bone scans, and needle aspiration. The best way to prevent it is to make sure to practice good wound hygiene, washing it thoroughly with soap and water. Of course, consulting your child's pediatrician is the best way to find out if your child has this disorder.

photo: dreamstime

Fibrous Dysplasia

This developmental disorder causes bone pain, abnormal growth, and deformities. The exact cause is uncertain, but doctors believe it's linked to an abnormality in a certain type of bone protein, which can be detected at birth. Those with this disorder have a waddling walk, scoliosis, or may be prone to bone fractures.

If your child seems to have these symptoms, ask your doctor to confirm a diagnosis because the symptoms of fibrous dysplasia can mimic other bone disorders.

Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland is a part of the endocrine system that maintains normal bone growth, through the secretion of the thyroid hormone. A decreased production of this could affect your child's height as well as their weight. Most babies do no show symptoms of this condition in the first few years of life, but there are signs to watch out for as early as infancy: elevated birth weight, constipation after birth, prolonged jaundice, poor feeding, hypothermia, sluggishness, noisy breathing or letting out a hoarse cry.

Growth Hormone Deficiency

Another growth disorder that can be found in the endocrine system is growth hormone deficiency, which happens when the pituitary gland is damaged or not producing enough hormones for normal growth.

Aside from growth retardation, those with this disorder exhibit sluggishness, englargement of the tongue, changes of the face, puffy and thick face and skin. It is usually diagnosed through X-ray and thyroid level tests.

Nutritional Short Stature

Malnutrition is the most common cause of growth retardation in the world. Consistent malnutrition can hinder a child from reaching their full height potential. Aside from stunted growth, malnutrition makes a child feel weak and can result in bone or muscle tissue wasting. The best way to combat this? Making sure your child consumes a well balanced diet daily, with special focus on maintaining a healthy protein intake.

Turner Syndrome

This condition is commonly seen in girls. It is one of the most common disorders that hinder growth and development. It occurs when a child is born with a missing or abnormal X chromosome. Not only do those with Turner Syndrome grow up short, they also experience ovarian developmental delays and abnormal function when they enter puberty.

sources: Kid's Health, Modern Mom, Children's Health, Human Growth Foundation, MedScape

READ: 5 Signs your baby will grow up tall

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