How are growth disorders evaluated?

Yung-Ping Chin, MD
Comprehensive evaluation is required to determine the cause of abnormal growth patterns. Further, consultations can help to differentiate whether short stature, for example, is familial or induced by a treatable abnormality. A typical work-up includes physical examination and a review of growth patterns over time. Blood tests may be performed to rule out hormonal or genetic disorders. A bone age may be obtained to assess skeletal maturation in comparison to a child’s chronological age. Imaging may also be ordered to evaluate the pituitary gland.
To evaluate growth disorders a pediatrician or family doctor will monitor a child's growth. When a child's growth deviates from an appropriate growth curve compared to other children of the same age and gender, a doctor will recommend changing diet and behaviors. With significant deviation the doctor will order blood tests, which will check for a variety of disorders including thyroid disease, digestion disorders, hormonal deficiencies, etc.

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