A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Growth Problems
I had a question the other day about growth problems.
Growth problems usually happen when your pituitary gland doesn’t work right.
Your pituitary gland sends hormones, including the growth hormone somatotropin, to different parts of your body.
Somatotropin encourages muscle and bone to grow in children.
Either overproduction or underproduction of this hormone can cause problems with growth.
Too little growth causes dwarfism; too much causes exaggerated growth, resulting in abnormally large hands, feet, and jaw.
Some cases of pituitary malfunction are caused by a tumor on your gland.
In some cases, growth problems are caused by failure of your thyroid to work right.
Your thymus gland may also be involved.
If an infant’s thymus is damaged, development can be retarded.
The child may develop a greater than normal susceptibility to infection.
Nutrition also plays a big role in the growth and development of a child.
Dwarfism is characterized by abnormally short stature.
In some cases, people are very small, but normally proportioned; in others, limbs are short compared to the rest of the body.
Causes of dwarfism include untreated congenital hypothyroidism, Down syndrome, achondroplasia, hypochondroplasia, and spinal tuberculosis.
Achondroplasia is a bone disorder caused by chemical changes in a single gene.
People with achondroplasia have large heads and arms and legs that are short compared to the length of their trunk.
They usually also have a large forehead, a flat area between their eyes, and a protruding jaw.
Their teeth are often crowded together.
In most cases, intelligence is normal, but motor development may be a bit slower than normal.
Both children and adults with achondroplasia need to pay close attention to diet and nutrition, because obesity can be a problem.
People with achondroplasia are at a greater risk for many other health problems, like neurologic and respiratory problems, orthopedic problems, fatigue, and numbness or pain in the lower back and thighs.
Congenital hypothyroidism is characterized by not enough thyroxine, a hormone secreted by the thyroid.
In most cases, this is because the child is born without a thyroid.
If congenital hypothyroidism isn’t detected and treated very quickly, many developmental abnormalities may occur, including short stature, disproportionately short arms and legs, coarse hair, and mental retardation.
Gigantism is a growth disorder characterized by abnormally great height, usually because of too much cartilage and bone formation at the ends of the long bones.
Pituitary gigantism is the most common form of this condition.
It’s the result of the pituitary gland secreting too much growth hormone.
Nutritional imbalances, delayed puberty, obesity, and some diseases (including congenital heart disorders and chronic kidney failure) can also be involved with growth problems.
If you’re concerned about your child’s growth rate, you should have him or her examined by an endocrinologist to see if there’s a problem.
It’s important to remember some people are just naturally shorter or taller than average.
To deal with growth problems it’s beneficial to:
*Give your child lots of purified water to drink daily to hydrate and flush toxins.
*Alfalfa is a valuable source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients promoting growth. It can be taken in tablet or capsule form, as well as eaten in a natural form like alfalfa sprouts.
*Eat a well-balanced diet high in healthy protein. Protein is necessary for growth.
*Include in your diet foods high in the amino acid arginine. Arginine is used to make another amino acid, ornithine, which promotes the release of growth hormone. Good food sources of arginine include carob, coconut, dairy products, gelatin, oats, peanuts, soybeans, walnuts, wheat, and wheat germ.
*When evaluating a child’s growth, it’s the overall growth pattern, rather than size, that’s important. If a child seems to “fall off” a previously steady growth curve, he or she should be evaluated for possible nutritional deficiencies and other health problems.
*There’s currently no treatment to promote growth in people with achondroplasia. Therapy is directed toward prevention and treatment of complications.
*High levels of lead, a toxic metal, may cause growth problems. A hair analysis can be done to rule out this metal toxicity.
*Avoid foods containing artificial colors or preservatives.
*Avoid fried and fatty foods like bacon, cold cuts, gravies, ham, luncheon meats, and sausage.
*Avoid processed food and junk food.
*Ensure regular (2 per day) bowel movements.
*Decrease toxic exposures of all kinds.
*Avoid MSG and artificial sweeteners as they’re neurotoxins.
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