What is Growth Hormone Deficiency? Edit

A growth hormone deficiency (GHD) occurs when the pituitary gland does not produce a sufficient amount of growth hormones. The pituitary gland is at the base of the brain, and controls the body’s balance of hormones, along with making growth hormones. The growth hormone is a hormone with the function of cell reproduction, and stimulating growth. This same hormone causes children to grow, and is released from the pituitary gland, into the blood. Growth hormone deficiency may be the result of a medical condition, and can occur at birth.

How does Growth Hormone Deficiency Affect the Endocrine System? Edit

A growth hormone deficiency mostly affects the endocrine system through lack of hormones. A growth hormone deficiency results in a slower production oh hormones in the body, which could interfere with the system, since it revolves around the body’s hormones. Also, a lack of growth hormone (GH) can affect the body’s system since the endocrine systems need all the bodily hormones to work together and maintain functions in the body.

Signs and Symptoms Edit

Growth hormone deficiency affects children and adults through different ways. For children, the most obvious sign is slowness in growth. This is because children with GHD grow less than 2 inches per year, and therefore appearing smaller and younger than average. That being said, the child will still have a proportionate body, despite that they may be chubbier. There is also a chance that puberty may not occur, or just occur late.

Adults with GHD may suffer differently than children, as they undergo many different symptoms. Some of these physical symptoms include decrease in muscle, increase in body fat, thinning of the bones, or rise in blood cholesterol levels. The adults may also suffer from many emotional symptoms. These symptoms may manifest in fatigue, anxiety, irritability, gloom, lack of motivation, and even lack in sexual interest.

Diagnosis Edit

A growth hormone deficiency is often detected through a doctor’s physical examination. Attention to weight, height and body proportions will show signs of a patient’s slowed growth. If there’s a suspicion of GHD, a few tests may occur. One of the tests are a stimulation test, which measures for levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF1) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP3). Both are hormones that a GHD causes the body to produce. Another test would be an MRI of the patient’s head, which would show the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.

Treatment Edit

Since the pituitary gland does not produce a sufficient amount of GH, a supplement is required. This supplement is a synthetic GH, which comes in the form of injections to be taken at home. The injections are a long-term treatment, as they continue to be prescribed until the desired height of the patient is acquired, or until adulthood.