The front part of the pituitary gland is responsible for production of growth hormone. Once it produces the hormone, it gets into the bloodstream and may cause its effects on all organs and tissues in the body.
Although growth hormone is released into the blood during the whole day, the highest level of this hormone is measured during sleep, at nighttime. During the day, people have low levels of growth hormone and this is not unusual. It is hard to diagnose growth hormone deficiency, because doctors need to measure its production while the child is asleep. However, in most cases it is true to say that if the level of growth hormone during the night is found to be normal, the child does not suffer from growth hormone deficiency.
This deficiency may be isolated or combined with some other pituitary hormone deficiency. Lack of several pituitary hormones is commonly presented with symptoms such as eye and vision problems, low blood sugar and some neurological signs, as well as short stature of this patient.
Doctors differentiate several types of dwarfism and two most commonly seen are achondroplastic and pituitary dwarfism, depending of the cause of the problem. Achondroplasia is caused by some gene mutation and these little people have some orthopedic problems and thus have short spinal column and short limbs. On the other hand, pituitary dwarfism is caused by the lack of growth hormone in the body, referring to the fact that hormone deficiency may be responsible for someone’s short stature. In general, pituitary dwarfism is provoked by an endocrine reason – lack of certain hormone.
Children born with too little of growth hormone usually do not look anything different than any other babies. Their weight and length are normal and there are no significant symptoms until the baby turns 6 months or sometimes one year. This is the first time when pituitary children experience the effects of growth hormone deficiency and from that time onward these kids will need large amounts of lacking hormone. Hormone injections (produced in the laboratories) should resolve this problem in theory, but the treatment works best in very young children.
What can Cause Pituitary Short Stature?
Diseases of the hypothalamus or the front part of the pituitary gland (both located in the brain) may cause pituitary dwarfism. Lack of oxygen during perinatal period (birth, delivery and first few days of life) or some other severe medical problems during that period of life are known to expose the child to a greater risk of developing pituitary problems and short stature.