Parents of small babies often wonder if there are signs and symptoms of dwarfism. Knowing what to look for can help you determine whether or not your baby is a little on the small side, or showing signs of one of the more than 200 medical disorders that can cause dwarfism. Always alert your pediatrician to any health question that concerns you. Dwarfs are prone to health problems that aren't as prevalent in the general population, like heart problems and brain aneurysms.
There are two types of dwarfism. Disproportionate dwarfism, also called skeletal dysplasia, occurs when the patient has some small body parts and some regular-sized body parts. Most commonly, the arms and legs will be small, while the head and trunk tend to be the same size as others in their age group. Proportionate dwarfism occurs when all parts of the body are simply small.
On standard pediatric growth charts, a height below the fifth percentile can indicate dwarfism. Generally, this is caused by a deficiency in human growth hormone. HGH tells the body when to grow and how much to grow. Lack of HGH is the cause of most cases of proportionate dwarfism.
Early Symptoms of Turner Syndrome
Excess skin at the neck of a newborn combined with puffy hands and feet during infancy are the earliest symptoms of Turner Syndrome, a disorder that results in short stature.
Early Symptoms of Skeletal Dysplasia
Clubfoot--twisted or misshapen fee--can be an early sign of disproportionate dwarfism. As part of the newborn examination, and during the first year well-baby checks, doctors will be looking for disorders such as this, as well as hip deformities that can hinder proper growth.
Dwarfism doesn't often affect a child's cognitive abilities; there are only a few dwarfism-related conditions that would affect a child's ability to mature into adulthood and care for himself, albeit with physical challenges and adaptations.