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Dwarfism is a short stature that results from a genetic or medical condition. It is generally defined as an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches which is equivalent to 147 centimeters or less. There are two main types of dwarfism. Proportionate short stature is the general lack of growth in body, arms and legs whereas disproportionate short stature is the lack of growth of your arms and legs.
Most dwarfism-related conditions are genetic disorders which result from a random genetic mutation from either the father’s sperm or the mother’s egg. Some happen because of a genetic change(s) inherited from one or both parents. Other causes could be due to organ failure that undermines the body’s ability to produce certain hormones or metabolise nutrients. Some even happen due to insufficient hormones such as human growth hormone or due to malnourishment. It is important to keep in mind that it is possible for two average height parents to have a child with short stature and it is also possible for two parents with dwarfism to have an average height child.
Some metabolic and hormonal causes of dwarfism can be reversible. For example, injections of human growth hormone can help people with growth hormone deficiency to grow to a normal height.
However, most common causes of dwarfism that are caused by genetics are not curable. The treatments would instead be focused on correcting or relieving problems caused by complications.
Regular checkups and ongoing care by a doctor who is familiar with dwarfism can improve the quality of life of a person with short stature. Any early complications such as narrowing of the spinal cord, could then be treated and addressed.
Most people with dwarfism can live a normal life. Some people with dwarfism however would need help with related medical conditions such as osteoarthritis. Despite that, with proper management, a lot of people with dwarfism can live a long and healthy life.
The most difficult part for them however is the stigma associated with dwarfism. This stigma includes bullying, employment discrimination as well as negative terms that are used to call people that have a short stature.
Most people with dwarfism prefer not to be labeled by a condition but some of them refer to themselves as dwarfs, little people or people with short stature. The word “midget” is generally considered as a negative term.
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