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Short stature
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 E34.3
ICD-9 783.43
DiseasesDB 18756
MedlinePlus 003271
eMedicine ped/2087

Short stature refers to a height of a human being which is below expected. Shortness is a vague term without a precise definition and with significant relativity to context. Because of the lack of preciseness, there is often disagreement about the degree of shortness that should be called short.

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists defines "short stature" as height more than 2 standard deviations below the mean for age and gender, which corresponds to the shortest 1.2% of individuals. [1]



Shortness in children and young adults nearly always results from below-average growth in childhood, while shortness in older adults usually results from loss of height due to kyphosis of the spine or collapsed vertebrae from osteoporosis.

From a medical perspective, severe shortness can be a variation of normal, resulting from the interplay of multiple familial genes. It can also be due to one or more of many abnormal conditions, such as chronic (prolonged) hormone deficiency, malnutrition, disease of a major organ system, mistreatment, treatment with certain drugs, chromosomal deletions, inherited diseases, birth defect syndromes, bone structures fusing earlier than intended or many other causes.

HGH deficiency may occur at any time during infancy or childhood, with the most obvious sign being a noticeable slowing of growth. The deficiency may be genetic.

Increasing final height in children with short stature may be beneficial and could enhance HRQoL outcomes barring troublesome side effects and excessive cost of treatments. [2]

Cultural issues

From a social perspective shortness can be a problem independently of the cause. In many societies there are advantages associated with taller stature and disadvantages associated with shorter stature, and vice versa.

See also




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