All of us want our kids to be healthy and tall, right? Before proceeding with analyzing the hormone growth deficiency treatment through Growth Hormone shots, let us try to discuss the part of the body which is responsible for the secretion of the growth hormones. These growth hormones, in turn, are responsible for the growth of the human being naturally.
The part of the body which is responsible for the growth is Pituitary Gland which is located at the base of the brain in a bony like cave and size of a pea. This gland produces a hormone known as Somatotropin which induces and stimulates growth and cell reproduction in the body. If there is any deficiency in the production of the said hormone, it results in stunted growth or a subnormal growth.
Growth Hormone is responsible for the growth of a child. Low growth hormone secretion is responsible for slow growth. It is evident that more the secretion of the hormone more will be the growth. It is necessary to assess whether the secretion is normal or not.
By deficiency, we mean the inability of the Pituitary gland to produce enough growth hormone. Why this happens again is a question which has several answers. One of them may be genetic mutations of the growth hormone receptor Prop-1 gene, Pit-1 gene etc. It can also be due to the hypothalamus. These may be one of the reasons for causing deficiency and resulting in stunted growth (not normal).
When it comes to growth deficiency, there are different words used in the medical field to describe it. It may be pituitary dwarfism or hypopituitarism or idiopathic short stature etc. Whatever may be the name, it boils down to one thing. The child has no normal growth. It is very stressful for the parent to come to grips with the fact that their child has this problem of undergrowth.
Is Growth Hormone shots the answer?
Yes; the Pediatric Endocrinologist in consultation with the parent need to assess the situation by conducting various tests and take a pragmatic and practical decision to go ahead with growth hormone shots for kids. In case of a child with a lower secretion of growth hormone (as confirmed by tests), Growth Hormone Shots could be the answer. Again, the doctor has to take a decision on the quantum of dosage depending on the severity of the problem. The dosage to be given differs from case to case.
Are there any side effects?
Yes, there will be. However, fortunately, the data shows that there are no serious side effects in cases of growth hormone shots for kids which have been administered on the child. The common side effects may be swelling, numbness, joint, and muscle aches and pains. If such a side effect is noticed, the same has to be immediately told to the doctor who will take a decision on the dosage being administered.
It is to be noted that much of Growth Hormone effects are on the generation of insulin-like growth factors and insulin. Thus, the children who have been treated with Growth Hormone treatment will be in a state of Hyperinsulinaemic euglycemia (reversible). The treatment also induces water retention and the child may rarely become hypertensive.
Should the treatment be continued throughout?
The main gland responsible for the secretion of the growth hormone, i.e Pituitary gland has to increase its production as the child grows. However, in some cases, the secretion will be less causing deficiency in the hormone and subsequent growth. Thus, as soon as the said deficiency is noticed (analyzed through various tests), it becomes necessary to administer the required quantum of Growth Hormone Shots. When once the child responds to the treatment and starts growing and the demand for the said hormone drops, the doctor has to take a decision to either reduce the dosage or stop it completely after assessing and analyzing the results of the tests conducted. Thus, the need for a continuous treatment may not be there.
The administration of growth hormone treatment has shown that the height increase is achievable in a number of diagnostic subgroups on whom the study is conducted. There is evidence to show that on being treated with Growth Hormone shots for kids, children with Idiopathic GHD have responded well to the treatment. They have been able to achieve the genetic target height. There is a need for further and continued research on the subject of Growth Hormone treatment and it can be concluded that as the research progresses, the treatment will also evolve with the active participation of pediatric endocrinologists. It can finally be concluded that whatever be the situation, it is for the parent to seek the help of a doctor and attend to the problem in the initial stage itself.