What is the prognosis of short stature?

Updated: Jan 06, 2021
  • Author: Sunil Kumar Sinha, MD; Chief Editor: Robert P Hoffman, MD  more...
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Answer

Individuals with normal variant short stature have an excellent prognosis.

Treatment of patients with classic growth hormone deficiency (GHD) with rhGH can be expected to yield a height consistent with genetic potential, provided that therapy is initiated at least 5 years prior to the onset of puberty. Whether cotreatment with rhGH and a gonadotropin-releasing hormone analog (eg, leuprolide) to inhibit puberty results in greater adult height in patients with classic GHD remains controversial.

Treatment of hypothyroidism at least 5 years before the onset of puberty is essential to attain a height consistent with the genetic potential.

Any chronic illness can reduce the adult height achieved if treatment of the condition is initiated late.

A study by Bourgeois et al, using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, reported a link between adult short stature and higher blood pressure. It was found that, starting in the fourth decade of life, taller subjects tended to have significantly lower systolic arterial blood pressure and pulse pressure, but higher diastolic arterial pressure, than shorter persons. Moreover, the effects of height on blood pressure were determined to increase with age. [5]

A Japanese study, by Shimizu et al, indicated that short stature in middle-aged men places them at an inflammatory disadvantage. The study, which involved 3016 men aged 30-59 years, found height to be inversely proportional to white blood cell count, particularly in men with a body mass index of 23 kg/m2 or above. [6]

A study by Quitmann et al indicated that children and adolescents with current short stature are more likely to have internalizing problems and a lower self- and parent-reported health-related quality of life than do those who have previously been diagnosed with short stature but who have reached a height greater than -2SDs by the time of evaluation. [7]


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