What is Short Stature or Dwarfism?

There are many medical conditions that are characterized in the growth and development of human beings. Short stature or dwarfism is one of the complicated medical disorders that not only occurs in humans but also other living things for instance animals and even plants. This condition leads to stuntedness. The average height of an adult regarded to have short stature or dwarfism is normally 4fts or 147 centimetres. Some people view 5ft tall as dwarfs too. The short stature or dwarfism is normally characterized into two; disproportionate and the proportionate.

The disproportionate is normally where the torso is of normal size to the conventional adults but the limps appear shorter and in most cases bowed like those of a person suffering from bow legged rickets. The head appears larger than normal size with a protruding forehead in a setup called achondroplasia. The proportionate is where the all the body are proportional and evenly stunted.

In the previous century, midget was a term used to refer to short stature or dwarfism people but currently the word is seen as offensive.

What is Short Stature or Dwarfism?

What is the Life Expectancy for Short Stature or Dwarfism?

Most short stature or dwarfism affected people always live a full life span that other normal people live right into old age meaning the condition is not that fatal.

What are the Different Types of Short Stature or Dwarfism?

The types of short stature or dwarfism include:

  • Achondroplasia
  • Achondrogenesis
  • Acromesomelic Dysplasia
  • Acrodysostosis
  • Campomelic Dysplasia
  • Atelosteogenesis
  • Chondrodysplasia Punctata
  • Cartilage Hair Hypoplasia
  • Conradi-Hunermann Syndrome
  • Cleidocranial Dysostosis
  • Cornelia de Lange
  • Desbuquois syndrome
  • Cranioectodermal dysplasia
  • Diastrophic Dysplasia
  • Dyssegmental Dysplasia
  • Dyggve-Melchior-Clausen
  • Ellis van Creveld Syndrome
  • Hallerman-Streiff Syndrome
  • Growth Hormone Deficiency
  • Hunter Syndrome (MPS II)
  • Hypochondrogenesis
  • Hurler-Scheie Syndrome (MPS I)
  • Hypochondroplasia
  • Hypophosphatemia
  • Hypophosphatasia
  • Hypopituitary
  • Jarcho-Levin Syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Jeune Syndrome
  • Laron Dwarfism
  • Kniest Dysplasia
  • Larsen Syndrome
  • Lethal Skeletal Dysplasias
  • Leri-Weill Dyschondrosteosis
  • Maroteaux-Lamy (MPS VI)
  • Metaphyseal Chondrodysplasia-Jansen Type
  • Mesomelic Dysplasia
  • Metaphyseal Dysplasia-Schmid Type
  • Morquio Syndrome (MPS IV)
  • Metatropic Dysplasia
  • Mucopolysaccharidoses
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta
  • Multiple Epiphyseal Dysplasia
  • Pituitary Dwarfism
  • Primordial Dwarfism
  • Precocious Puberty
  • Pseudoachondroplasia
  • Rickets
  • Rhizomelic Chondrodysplasia Punctata
  • Robinow dwarfism/ syndrome
  • Seckel Syndrome
  • Severe Achondroplasia with Acanthosis Nigricans and Developmental Delay
  • Russell-Silver Syndrome
  • Schmike Immuneosseous Dysplasia

What is Constitutional Short Stature?

A constitutional short stature in children is not considered as a short stature or dwarfism as the condition happens temporarily and the child will resume normal growth eventually.

What Causes Short Stature or Dwarfism?

Initially, people used to think that short stature or dwarfism was entirely hereditary. Although the condition can be inherited without attachment of any other disease (familial short stature or dwarfism), short stature is not the only cause. Short stature or dwarfism has been discovered to be a medical condition that can be caused by not less than two hundred causes.

The major cause of short stature or dwarfism in the world is the autosomal disorder. This disorder is caused by the presence of an allel in the genonom that is faulty. This is basically a mutation in fibroblast growth receptor. This is typically referred to as achondroplasia. It is very fatal to have a double achondroplasia allels. This in most cases leads to deaths of the victim. This condition is always associated with irregular growth of tarsal in relation to the other body parts where by the tarsal is relative normal in reference to other people while the limps are smaller and in most cases racketed. The head may also appear larger with flatted nose and protruding forehead. This condition accounts to approximately seventy per cent of live short stature or dwarfism with a population of close to 100000 people living with short stature or dwarfism.

Another very common cause of short stature or dwarfism is the deficiency of growth hormone. Somatotropin is a polypeptide hormone that is in charge of stimulation of cell multiplication. In this case, the victim normally undergoes slow growth leading to stuntedness or halted growth with puberty delaying. The hormonal deficiency is normally caused by multiple mutation in the cells and will in most cases lead to short stature even if under well balanced dieting.

Other causes of short stature or dwarfism are inheritance where the victims mutated genes are passed to his offspring's. Short stature or dwarfism causes such as diastrophic dysplasia spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, hypochondroplasia, pseudoachondroplasia, noonan syndrome, primordial dwarfism and turner syndrome among others causes are also common in various victims across the world. Skeletal dysplasia is an abnormal bone growth that affects the victim leading to shortness and irregular bone structures especially on the forehead and the entire skeleton.

Symptoms of Short Stature or Dwarfism

Short stature or dwarfism is always visible physically in the growth stages of a person with the condition. The slow growth and irregular bone formation is a major indicator in the growth of a person in his early age. Short stature or dwarfism on suspicion can also be proved by genetic testing that is done in specialised clinics. This tests can prove if the child is suffering from the condition and medical attention eventually kicks in to try and mitigate the situation. In the initial stages of dwarfism evaluation, shortness, bone disproportion and bone dysplasia are the most important symptoms that are taken into consideration then other factors kicks in before the patient is subjected to genetic examination and consequently, genetic counselling follows.

The major symptoms therefore for short stature or dwarfism is the stunted stature of the victim, slow growth in early stages, unproportional relation of the torsa to the entire body, larger than normal head that can be visible in younger person, protruding fore head, ricketed limps and abnormalities in the bone structure.

Tests to Diagnose Short Stature or Dwarfism

Genetic testing is the major specialized way of testing the short stature or dwarfism condition. The physical visual examination is only an indicator to short stature or dwarfism but the genetic examination and diagrammatic imaging is what proves the presence of dwarfism in an individual.

Treatment for Short Stature or Dwarfism

It is not easy to treat short stature or dwarfism, but in many occasions, short stature or dwarfism caused by growth hormonal deficiency can be treated by enhancing the somatropin polypeptide hormone by replacement therapy before the child growth bones fuse. The condition can as well be successfully be treated by surgery .

Prevention of Short Stature or Dwarfism

Most short stature or dwarfism cases are hereditary making it nearly impossible to prevent. The only closest means of preventing this is through healthy pairing up of the parents but this is not always practical since it is not practical to go about testing your partners every time for all the genetic deformities that might be recessively carried in their bodies. This will also be viewed as stigmatization which is being fought by numerous organizations in the world. It is not also human to go around testing people. Treatment available are also expensive but they can help in treatment.

Complications of Short Stature or Dwarfism

Stigma is the major hustle that the patients of short stature or dwarfism undergo. The gruel some abuse at early stage can lead to psychological complications in the victim that can persist to later stages and age of the victim. This requires a serious counselling to the patient in each and every growth stage. Short stature or dwarfism is always not life threatening unless if the condition is associated with double achondroplasia allele which is very fatal. This definitely leads to demise of the patient at early age.

Stuntedness is the major complication that will normally result in stigma which one can live with if properly counselled. Bone dysplasia is another complication associated with the short stature or dwarfism problem that can lead to irregular growth in bone structure. The fore head enlargement protrusion is the second most visible complication after shortness but the most serious complication is the dual achondroplasia allele that are as a result of mutation. These achondroplasia allels in the genonom are mostly faulty and very fatal.

Prognosis for Short Stature or Dwarfism

The condition of short stature or dwarfism is nowhere close to being controlled. We will still have the condition in future generation since most of the causes are as a result of inheritance and cell and gene mutation. The only insight we can have in the future is more sophisticated testing device that can warn people in earlier stages and thus treatment to start. It is also evident that people are trying to understand short stature or dwarfism and great care taken to ensure that the victims are appreciated. This means that in future there will be fewer cases of stigmatization as a result of sensitization of the masses.

Home Remedies for Short Stature or Dwarfism

There is not much support that can be given at home to try rectify short stature or dwarfism. The only real help for this condition is the specialized care that is offered in special clinics by specialist in terms of surgery and hormone replacement.

Coping with Short Stature or Dwarfism

It is very advisable for the patients to accept their situation and try and live with short stature or dwarfism. The families of the affected people have the obligation of ensuring proper psychological and material support is provided to the person. It is also very important to try and live with the stigma through thorough counselling of the patients.

There are several ways of coping with short stature or dwarfism. One must be strong in character to try and ignore the stigma. Live like any other normal human being and have a happy life with your loved. As a kid, this can prove to be very hard but with the right company of friends, life will move on smoothly. Victims should also try to enrol with the organization that offers support to the victims in terms of material support, psychological among other get together activities that makes them feel loved in the society.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: June 23, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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