A few years ago, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of synthetic growth hormones (HGH) for non-deficient children who might end up being shorter than most other of the same age. This condition is known as idiopathic shortness.
Consequently, more than half a million children qualify for this kind of treatment. Concerned parents have had the opportunity to speak to their doctors to weigh the merit and demerits of growth hormone shots for kids. The shots are quite expensive and don’t always bear the desired results. If you are a concerned parent looking to spare your child’s impending agony during his teen years, here’s what you need to know.
Is Being Taller Better?
Researchers believe that height offers most people a social advantage. For example, most people who are tall earn better salaries. In fact, some research studies have established that height is important for women and men when looking for a marriage partner. The same applies to the political arena because voters seem to like taller leaders.
Considering all the benefits that come with height, you may assume that extremely short kids will end up feeling inferior and lonely. Researchers have proven that this isn’t the case. Short kids who end up being short adults live normal happy lives along with their normal-height friends.
However, there are instances where a short height can be is a risk. Take care, for example. Most of the features in cars are designed to accommodate a certain height range. Thus, drivers who fall height of 5 feet are quite likely to be injured than taller people as they tend to sit closer to safety devices like airbags.
What are the Risks?
Growth hormone shots for kids are relatively safe for a few years after treatment begins. Not much is known regarding risks in adulthood. Based on research published in Neurology, there is a strong link between treatment in children and having a stroke later on in adulthood. In addition, growth hormone shots for kids can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Children treated with growth hormones have a greater chance of developing psychological issues as well. As a parent who wishes to see a child add some height, it’s the message that you are communicating to your child that matters. Although treatment may help him grow taller, essentially you are telling your child that there is something wrong with his height.
What are a few more Inches if the Price is Hefty?
Your child may gain a few inches once your doctor administers growth hormone shots. In fact, the average height gained after about five years of treatment is about 2 inches. The response is often average, and most do better while some don’t improve that much.
While some children respond really well to growth hormone shots for kids, the cost is usually hefty. The cost of treatment is about $60000 a year on the higher side and insurance varies significantly.
The biggest challenge a doctor to deal with is knowing which child will derive the greatest benefit from a growth hormone treatment. Children with short parents, but who are growing at a normal rate won’t really gain much from a growth hormone shot, particularly if tests indicate that they suffer no deficiency.
When should you Provide Treatment?
Concerned parents often want to know when it’s best to use growth hormone shorts for kids. Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut response, as health practitioners have come to realize. Medical, ethical and social concerns have complicated issues much more.
Stunted growth isn’t a disease, but it can be a result of underlying problems. Some short kids who are completely healthy receive shots on a daily basis and as with all drugs; there may be side effects as well as unknown long-term health risks.
Given the depth of knowledge regarding growth hormones, there are many ethical concerns other than medical issues surrounding growth hormone shorts for kids who are non-deficient. Offering growth hormone shots could help short kids gain some height, but they are also exposed to extremely powerful growth hormones, whose long-term effects doctors don’t really understand.
In addition, there are many research gaps where growth hormones are concerned. For instance, not much is known about the risks associated with daily injections given to a child for a few years. There isn’t a clear link between a child’s adult height and your child’s quality of life as an adult.
There are other gaps as well, particularly in the diagnosis of deficiency. Since diagnostic tests continuously evolve, doctors use different texts, and each offers unique results from a similar sample. This makes it incredibly difficult to understand the underlying literature.
There’s no doubt that growth hormone shots for kids can help give height and confidence to a child, but there’s so much that science hasn’t said about hormone therapy. As a parent, ensure you speak to your doctor before giving your child growth hormone shots.