Growth in children is a sensitive indicator of health, nutrition and genetic background. Growth is regulated by several factors, and any fault in these factors can lead to a growth impairment. Skeletal dysplasias are a group of anomalies occurring from birth, which affect cartilage and/or bone growth. Skeletal dysplasias can occur in approximately 1 in 5,000 births.
Skeletal dysplasias are regulated by several hormonal and genetic factors, and any fault in these factors can lead to impairment of growth. Skeletal dysplasias often lead to neurological issues and problems with the bones and cartilage that may not seen in other growth disorders.
Skeletal dysplasias are usually characterised by short stature which can be disproportionate, meaning some parts of the body may grow at a normal rate while other parts have a reduced growth rate; for example the legs and arms may be more affected than the trunk (chest neck and stomach area). This disproportionate growth in children may lead to a number of musculoskeletal, neurological, heart, respiratory, ear nose and throat, plus dental issues, which can lead to special care needs.
Like other growth disorders, skeletal dysplasias can be difficult to diagnose due to the large number of different factors to consider; however, short stature provides the first clue in diagnosis. Health care professionals can sometimes detect skeletal dysplasias even before birth or shortly after. Other tests used to help confirm a diagnosis include X-rays, MRIs and CT scans, to precisely examine bones. Genetic testing from a blood sample can also be performed.
Calculate your child’s growth
It is important to keep track of your child’s growth in order to identify if there is a problem early on. We recommend measuring your child every 6 months, which is now easier, with our simple to use growth calculator.
Get prepared for talking to your doctor
If you are concerned about your child’s growth, don’t hesitate to speak with an HCP. They will be able to complete some measurements and investigate further if needed, potentially referring you on to a specialist. Here we can help you plan for both conversations.