Abnormal growth patterns are situations in which a certain set of circumstances has led to a lack or excessive amount of growth hormone in the body. This hormone is manufactured in the pituitary gland, and under normal conditions will promote a rate of growth that is considered proper. However, when any factor interferes with the process of hormone production, the individual may retain childlike stature and fail to thrive, or undergo an unusual amount of growth in a short period of time. As such, growth disorders include situations where an individual experiences either a stunted growth pattern or one where the growth is excessive.
In most cases, growth disorders have their origin in genetics. One example of genetic disorders that impact growth patterns is known as hypopituitarism. This is a condition in which the pituitary gland has a reduced output from the time of birth. When the output of hormone is reduced from the time of birth forward, the child will exhibit an abnormal growth pattern of the skeleton, including the face and cranium. Growth disorders of this type include Palister-Hall syndrome, anencephaly, and holoprosencephaly.
One of the more common growth disorders in women is known as Turner syndrome. This condition comes about due to a lack of one X chromosome. The result is a growth pattern that is known as dwarfism. This condition not only inhibits the development of normal growth, but can also have a negative impact on the woman’s ability to conceive.
Skeletal dysplasia is another example of growth disorder. With this condition, the various parts of the body will be out of proportion with others. The individual may develop legs that are considered normal in stature, but have a short trunk or perhaps arms that are abnormally short.
Beckwith-Widemann syndrome is among the growth disorders that relate to excessive growth. The abnormal growth begins while the child is still in the womb, and will continue after birth. In time, the rate of growth will slow down, although the individual is usually abnormally tall and may be more susceptible to a number of health issues. Some people with this condition also have a fragile bone structure that increases the chance of breaking arms or legs in adolescence and early adulthood.
There is a wide range of sub-categories of growth disorders, many of them due to endocrine disorders that develop due to an accident or that are present at the time of birth. Diagnosing some form of growth disorder usually occurs early in life, and treatment is usually aimed at limiting health risks associated with the disorder. At present, there is no approved method for reversing disorders of this kind, although genetic research continues to pursue a solution to this health condition.