What is Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD)?
Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is a rare disorder characterized by the inadequate secretion of growth hormone (GH) from the anterior pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain that is responsible for the production of several hormones.
GHD can be present from birth (congenital), resulting from genetic mutations or from structural defects in the brain. It can also be acquired later in life as a result of trauma, infection, radiation therapy, or tumor growth within the brain.
A third category has no known or diagnosable cause (idiopathic).
When a diagnosis of GHD is made, treatment may then be initiated. Children with GHD should be started on recombinant human growth hormone as soon as the disorder is recognized to optimize growth potential. The dosage is gradually increased to its highest dose during puberty, and discontinued at or near completion of skeletal maturation when the patient may require retesting to see if GH is needed as an adult.
Children and some adults with growth hormone deficiency will benefit from growth hormone therapy. The goals of treatment are to increase growth in children and restore energy, metabolism, and body composition. The doctor may prescribe growth hormone, also called somatropin (Humatrope, Genotropin) which is injected a few times each week.