At What Age Is Human Growth Hormone Deficiency Detected?

Besides a low birth weight, human growth hormone deficiencies may also be observed at birth, or at a later time in life, as resulting from a condition known as micropenis. In this situation, the boy or man is observed as having penal length that is substantially shorter than the average penal length for his age. This condition is generally observed at birth and is found to relate directly back to some variation of a hormone growth deficiency. While at one time in history, little was known about this unfortunate condition and newborn boys who presented with abnormally small penises were subject to sex reassignment surgery, today much more is understood about the relationship between the pituitary gland, the human growth hormone and the overall growth and development of the human body.

While children may be generally observed as having a human growth hormone deficiency issue at birth, in some cases the problem may not be observed until much later in childhood. While children generally vary in their height ranges, any child who is significantly shorter than their counterparts may be at risk for a human growth hormone deficiency. If a child is believed to possibly have such a deficiency, physicians will take into consideration whether there are any similar problems in other family members. Late or early growth spurts and adolescent developments in other family members may prove to be of particular interest. The growth rate of the child, even before birth, will also be of particular importance when evaluating whether there is a presence of a human growth hormone deficiency. Other diagnostic tests include x-rays and blood work. An x-ray of the wrist and hand is usually very helpful to doctors in determining whether there is a deficiency present because the bones in this area can be quite revealing regarding the chronological age of an individual. Tests ran on blood samples aid physicians in determining whether there are any hormone deficiencies present such as a lack of thyroid hormone, as well as another important partner in the human growth process; somatomedin. The production of somatomedin is stimulated by the human growth hormone in the body tissues such as the liver and allows the human growth hormone and the cells contained inside body tissues to work together in order for the body to achieve normal growth.

In some cases, a human growth hormone can be difficult to diagnose. A low level of human growth hormone in blood tests collected may or may not necessarily reveal that there is in fact a deficiency present. This is primarily true because the pituitary gland only produces the human growth hormone in spurts. A completely healthy child could also be tested and appear to have a deficiency, when in fact none was present at all. Because of this phenomenon, doctors usually need to observe a patient over a course of time to make an accurate determination.

Congenital growth hormone deficiency problems may not be noticed right away. Many times the problems are not noticed until some months after the child’s birth, when he or she simply fails to be growing at a normal rate. Acquired growth hormone deficiency problems may not be noticed for as much as several years.

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