Human Growth Hormone Deficiency

General Illness Information

Description: Growth hormone deficiency is a condition in which the body does not produce enough growth hormone. Other names for growth hormone deficiency are dwarfism and pituitary nanism.

Somatotropin (STH, somatotropic hormone, somatropin, growth hormone) is one of the hormones of adenohypophysis. This hormone refers to polypeptide hormones, which also includes prolactin and placental lactogen.

When pituitary gland does not produce enough growth hormone, a person’s growth may slow down. Although a deficiency of growth hormone is more common in children, it is possible that a deficit of growth hormone will develop in adults as well.


Growth hormone deficiency is rarely caused by genetic causes: it is not necessarily transmitted from parents to children. But experts believe that children with certain types of physical problems, such as cleft palate, are more likely to have a predisposition to a growth hormone deficiency.

To understand what exactly causes a growth hormone deficiency, it is necessary to understand health condition level. When you have a growth hormone deficiency the following aspects take place: pituitary gland should produce growth hormone called somatotropin. This hormone stimulates growth, promotes health of muscles, tissues and bones.

There are two types of growth hormone deficiency:

  1. congenital growth hormone deficiency;
  2. acquired growth hormone deficiency.

There are some other causes of growth hormone deficiency:

  • severe head injury;
  • head tumor or history of pituitary gland tumors;
  • infection;
  • operation on brain;
  • hormonal problems associated with hypothalamus or pituitary gland;
  • poor blood supply to pituitary gland;
  • radiation methods of brain treatment.

Signs & Symptoms

Growth hormone deficiency symptoms depend on age.

Deficiency of Growth Hormone in Children

The most common symptom of growth hormone deficiency in children is that the child is significantly shorter in comparison with children of his age. Nevertheless, the child under this condition can have normal body proportions.

Children with growth hormone deficiency tend to grow less than 5 cm per year.

Here are growth hormone deficiency symptoms in children:

  • child’s face may appear younger;
  • delayed puberty, but sometimes the child will not go through puberty;
  • increase in fat around face and abdomen;
  • moderate emotions;
  • slow tooth development;
  • hair growth insufficiency.

Symptoms of Growth Hormone Deficiency in Adults

Symptoms of growth hormone deficiency in adults can vary, and many adults who have this condition can experience a combination of the following symptoms:

  • anxiety and / or depression;
  • alopecia (in men);
  • decreased libido and sexual function;
  • decreased muscle mass and strength;
  • difficulty with concentration and bad memory;
  • dry, thin skin;
  • elevated levels of triglycerides;
  • fatigue and / or weakness;
  • heart problems;
  • high levels of LDL;
  • resistance to insulin;
  • decreased tolerance to physical exercise;
  • decreased bone density, which increases osteoporosis risk;
  • sensitivity to heat and cold;
  • very low energy levels;
  • increased body fat, especially around the waist.

Sometimes, human growth hormone is applied for sport purposes to beef up. It may be a way out when a person with growth hormone deficiency may use such a method to eliminate this disorder.


Growth hormone deficiency diagnosis, as a rule, begins with physical examination. It can help the doctor evaluate signs of slowing growth.

The doctor will check the proportions of weight, height and body mass. A child with a deficiency of growth hormone usually does not follow the common rates of development: growth is usually very slow, and the child is usually much lower than other children of the same age.

But aside from physical examination, there are many other diagnostic methods used to establish growth hormone deficiency diagnosis in children and adults:

  • blood tests to assess growth hormone deficiency;
  • measurement of the level of growth hormone (somatomedin) in the blood;
  • blood tests to measure the levels of other pituitary hormones;
  • measurement of GHRH-arginine;
  • test for insulin tolerance.

In addition to blood tests, your doctor may prescribe some additional exams and tests to help diagnose a growth hormone deficiency.


The most common method of growth hormone deficiency treatment in children and adults is hormone therapy with growth hormone.

Growth hormone is known as somatotropin. This hormone, which is usually produced in the pituitary gland, stimulates growth and cells multiplication in body.

After the attending physician prescribes growth hormone therapy, as a rule, daily doses of growth hormone will be necessary. However, depending on severity of the condition, injections may be needed more often.


It is usually necessary to visit the doctor every 4 to 8 weeks throughout the treatment so that he can monitor the patient’s condition. Most likely you will have to take new blood tests to determine if you need more growth hormone.

Also the doctor will monitor the cholesterol level, blood glucose level, and bone density during hormonal therapy to make sure that they are of normal level. The intake of growth hormone can affect how the body reacts to insulin, which controls the level of glucose in blood.

There are also special considerations for children. Children who receive growth hormone injections tend to grow by 10 or more cm during the first year of treatment, and for the next 2 years, they can grow 5-7 cm per year. However, after the growth rate starts to slowly decline.

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