An overview of growth hormone deficiency

Our body has many essential components that help the body function normally. One of the many components is the hormones, which are the chemical messengers of the body. They travel to the tissues and organs in the body through the bloodstream. Although they are essential for the body, they work slow and affect different parts of the body over time. Hormones are responsible for several functions like growth and development, metabolism, reproduction, moods, and sexual function. All hormones come from the endocrine glands. There are different types of endocrine glands, that is, pituitary, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands, pancreas, and pineal gland.

A small hormonal change can cause drastic changes in the body. This shows how powerful hormones really are. One of the hormones important for the growth of the human body is called somatotropin or the human growth hormone. It is produced in the pituitary gland and plays an important role in the composition, metabolism, cell repair, and growth of the body. Additionally, the growth hormone also boosts muscle growth and promotes strength and exercise performance. It also helps the body recover from injuries and diseases.

On rare occasions, people suffer from a defect where they face a deficiency of growth hormone, called the growth hormone deficiency. When someone is suffering from this rare disorder, it is because their pituitary gland is not producing enough growth hormone.

Growth hormone deficiency usually occurs when there is permanent damage to the pituitary gland, which might have occurred during childhood or adulthood. Growth hormone deficiency can also occur when there is a pituitary tumor, which causes interferences in the production of growth hormones. The interference can also be due to medical intervention like surgery and radiotherapy to treat the tumor.

Growth hormone deficiency can also be present in some people since birth as they have the inability to produce growth hormones, thereby making it a life condition.

When it comes to diagnosing growth hormone deficiency, doctors use the methods of exams and tests for diagnosing the condition in people of all age groups. The diagnosis starts with a physical exam that helps the doctors identify the signs of slowed growth.

The diagnosis will include a test where the doctor checks one’s weight, height, and body proportions. These are some of the most important aspects of the diagnosis as a child with this condition will not typically match with the normal growth charts. In fact, the growth rate is slower, and people or children are much shorter than other children of the same age.

Apart from the physical test, doctors also take a blood test to confirm the deficiency. The blood test helps in identifying the amount of growth hormone levels in the blood. It also helps determine the measure of other hormones produced by the pituitary gland.

Other tests for diagnosing a growth hormone deficiency can include a dual-energy X-ray absorption (DXA) scan, which measures the bone density. Additionally, MRI can also be taken to see the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. Furthermore, an X-ray of the skull helps the doctors understand the bone growth of the skull, thereby identifying the presence of the deficiency.