While growth hormone disorders are relatively rare (affecting about one in 4,000 to 10,000 children), the good news is that they can be effectively treated and CVS Specialty is here to help kids and their parents or caregivers stay on track.
Early diagnosis leads to better results.
Growth hormone treatment produces better results when started as early as possible and this is why pediatricians track a child’s height and weight against growth charts during routine checkups. Generally, if a child’s height and weight match children two years younger, or if the child falls off the normal growth curve, he or she should be evaluated for a growth hormone disorder.
Growth hormone disorders in children are typically treated by pediatric endocrinologists. In diagnosing your child, your doctor probably reviewed the details of your family’s medical history, conducted a physical exam, and may have ordered an x-ray of your child’s hand or wrist. Blood tests are done to check for hormone deficiencies and to rule out kidney, bone or gastrointestinal conditions. If the doctor thinks there is a problem with the pituitary gland, additional blood tests may be needed.
Treatment for growth hormone disorders.
Once diagnosed, growth hormone disorders are treated with injections of growth hormone. Some children receive daily injections, while others receive injections a few times a week. Most children respond to treatment quickly, and you may notice changes within three to four months of treatment. Some of the first signs you may see in your child are an increase in appetite and a loss of body fat.
When treatment starts, most children experience a faster-than-normal growth rate. This will slow down over time, but your child should continue to grow faster than he or she would without treatment. Typically, treatment continues for several years, until your child reaches an acceptable adult height or maximum growth potential is reached.
Understanding that treatment takes time and results can take months to be realized, it is important to work with your doctor to set realistic expectations for your child. This will help prevent him or her from becoming discouraged throughout their journey.
If you have questions, reach out to your CVS Specialty CareTeam any time.