Chronic kidney disease (CKD)

Overview

CKD can occur as the result of a number of different factors, from genetic to physical. Children with CKD have reduced renal function leading to reductions in calorie intake, electrolytes and production of growth hormone. All of these factors can negatively impact growth in children.

Cause

Poor growth is a common problem for children with CKD. It can occur when the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), a measurement of kidney function, becomes too low. Many factors contribute to poor growth in patients with CKD, for example the child may be getting inadequate nutrition (calorie intake).

Symptoms

Symptoms of CKD include: puffiness around the eyes, feet, and ankles;
frequent urination or, in children 5 years or older, prolonged bedwetting;
loss of appetite and chronic nausea; fatigue; frequent severe headaches and anaemia. A growth deficiency with CKD can be identified by reduced growth and short stature.

Diagnosis

If the underlying factors that contribute to poor growth are treated and growth hormone therapy is initiated early in the course of CKD, patients may reach normal adult height; however, most children with CKD will hopefully be provided with a kidney transplant. For adolescents with CKD, final height is often less than target height.

Little girl typing numbers on calculator

Growth calculator

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.

Male and female patients waiting in corridor of medical centre

Talking to your doctor about child growth

If you are concerned about your own or your child’s growth, you should speak to a doctor. This section will help you with what questions to ask, so that you can be prepared.

Related

Constitutional delay of growth and puberty

Constitutional growth delay refers to children who are small for their age but who grow at a normal rate. They often have a delayed bone age, meaning their skeletal maturation is younger than their age in years. Although puberty may be delayed, they tend to catch up with their peers when they reach adult height.

Growth hormone deficiency (GHD)

When a child is diagnosed with GHD, it means that their body is not producing enough growth hormone, so they are not growing the way they should. GHD affects about 1 in every 30,000 children per year.