Short stature implies a child has a height that is below what is typical for his sex and age. This term applies to small kids with a height that is below the third percentile on the growth curve. A growth curve is a line plotted to chart your child’s growth path and different ages based on what is accepted as standard among a population of the same age and sex.
The charts used by specialists today to monitor your child’s growth have an outer limit of 5thand 95th percentiles. You will also find doctors using charts with a 3rd and 97th percentile. The latter is ideal for plotting the development process of a child who is either too short or too tall. Older charts were based on information generated by the FelsInstitute.
For instance, if your child’s height falls on the 25th percentile, then he is approximately taller that 25 out 100 other kids of the same age and sex.
However, kids don’t always follow the curve, although their growth usually falls parallel to the standard curve. A kid whose height is well below the third percentile has short stature when compared to others of the same age.
How your Child Grows
A growth specialist will consider many things when assessing a child’s growth. As an example, your height is important, as it will give an indication of how tall your child will be when he is an adult.
If your height is below average, your child is likely to end up with a height that is below average. Growth rate or growth velocity is equally important. A child who isn’t growing at a rate equal to that of his friends is likely to drop further down the chart as he ages. Such a child may cross percentiles during the process.
If this happens to your child, then it’s an indication that he has underlying issues that should be diagnosed immediately. Small kids show rapid growth after they are born. Usually, the rate is 25cm during the first year. However, the rate declines to about 12 cm in the send year and finally 8 cm in year 3. After that, up until puberty, growth is stable at a rate of 4.5 to 7 cm each year
Your child may show a small deceleration in growth right before puberty. Generally, a girl will show a growth spurt much earlier than a boy would and their growth peaks 8.3 cm while that of boys is 9.5 cm.
Most small kids develop a pattern once they are aged 3, which won’t change until puberty. As a child develops during the initial three years, he is likely to crisscross development channels. But, since your child’s birth size correlates with maternal aspects while his size as an adult is linked to his genetic predisposition.
If your doctor notices that the child is crisscrossing percentiles, he will want to know his history. He will also perform a physical exam in order to find out if your child is failing to grow. Children often cross percentiles based on the time puberty occurred relative to a standard population.
If a child whose age ranges between 3 and puberty experiences a change in growth patterns, your doctor will want to evaluate him to find out if there are underlying problems.
When is Endocrine Disorderthe Culprit?
Some small kids may have normal height right after birth. However, with time, their growth begins to decelerate. However, if your child is showing preserved weight increase or obesity, then it could be that he has an endocrine issue.
Being unusually obese for height is a sign of endocrine issues. If the doctor rules out other growth disorders, he may want to look at your child’s growth hormone. Unfortunately, a random assessment of your child’s growth hormone isn’t useful since it is released in pulses.
Small kids with hormonal deficiency often present within six months after birth. When maternal influences on his size ware out, genetic factors take over. Fortunately, your doctor knows his way around such an issue, and he will be able to show you how to improve your child’s growth.
A child with severe growth factor deficiency often displays symptoms of hypoglycemia as well as conjugated hyperbilirubinemia. Some small kids also have a small phallus, which is a sign of growth hormone deficiency. There are many causes, but the most common ones include damaged pituitary gland, autoimmune disease or tumors. In other instance, the cause might be irradiation or surgical resection of these lesions.
Poor Growth leading to short stature is quite common in kids of different ages. However, this is just a symptom, not an illness, point you to much more serious issues in your child’s health. If you notice your child has seriously slow growth, seek medical attention immediately because some of these issues can be remedied.