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Growth Hormone Deficiency is the medical condition of inadequate production of growth hormone (GH) and its effects on children and adults. Growth hormone, also called somatotropin, is a polypeptide hormone which stimulates growth and cell reproduction. See separate articles on GH physiology and GH treatment.
Deficiency of GH produces significantly different problems at various ages. In newborn infants the primary manifestations may be hypoglycemia or micropenis. In later infancy and childhood, growth failure may be major effect.
Adults with growth hormone deficiency may have diminished lean body mass and poor bone density and a number of physical and psychological symptoms, including poor memory, social withdrawal, and even depression. Abnormally low growth hormone levels in adults typically result in diminished quality of life and can even be disabling. Physical symptoms include loss of strength, stamina, and musculature. Adults suffering from these symptoms should seek laboratory testing by an endocrinologist. Other hormonal or glandular disorders frequently coincide with diminished growth hormone production.
GH deficiency can be congenital or acquired in childhood or adult life. It can be partial or complete. It is usually permanent, but sometimes transient. It may be an isolated deficiency or occur in association with deficiencies of other pituitary hormones.
GH deficiency is treated by growth hormone replacement.