From an interview with
Dr. Deidre Tyson
McLeod Pediatric Endocrinology
Although growth disorders in children are an uncommon problem, it’s one of her primary functions, says McLeod Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Deidre Tyson.
Here are the major points made by Dr. Tyson in the video:
The treatment of growth disorders is one of the primary functions of the pediatric endocrinologist. Growth hormone deficiency, an uncommon problem, is found in one in 10,000 children. Normally, it becomes apparent after the first year of life because intrauterine factors linger into infancy. At about one year of age, the child’s own pituitary gland starts controlling growth. So, if a child starts missing growth targets after six months of age, there’s a suspicion of growth hormone deficiency as the cause.
While most cases of growth hormone deficiency are in babies born with pituitary problems, it also can be acquired. The most worrisome cause is a tumor in the brain, typically called a craniopharyngioma. If a child’s been growing steadily for the first four to 10 years of life and suddenly growth comes to a screeching halt, we will be very concerned that a brain tumor is the cause.
Management of growth hormone deficiency consists of daily injections because it can’t be absorbed by the GI tract if taken by mouth. We’ve been giving the well-studied human recombinant synthetic growth hormone since 1985. There was a 25-year National Cooperative Growth Study that confirmed the safety and effectiveness of this treatment. So there is no hesitation in prescribing synthetic growth hormone if a child does have growth hormone deficiency.