Health conditions / illnesses that affect body growth


Some children may be small for their age and this is normal especially if the parents themselves are short.

However, it’s important to note that any serious illness (and sometimes the medications used to treat it) can affect development, including height.

Examples May Include ;

Kidney failure

Researchers have found that many factors cause growth failure in children with chronic kidney disease.

In addition to removing wastes and extra fluid from the blood, the kidneys perform important functions for a child’s growth.

Normal kidney function helps maintain the

~   Balance of nutrients and minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, in the blood. These minerals are essential for normal bone growth.


~   The kidneys use a hormone called calcitriol, a form of vitamin D, to help bones absorb the right amount of calcium from the blood.

~   The kidneys also remove extra phosphorus, helping balance phosphorus and calcium levels in the blood.

~   Body’s ability to use growth hormone. Growth hormone is necessary during childhood to help bones grow and stay healthy.

~    Correct levels of erythropoietin in the body. Erythropoietin is a hormone that helps bone marrow make red blood cells.

~    proper balance of sodium, also called salt; potassium; and acid-base levels in the blood. Acid-base balance refers to the amount of acid in the blood.


Damaged kidneys can slow a child’s growth by;

~     Causing mineral and bone disorder, which occurs when vitamin D is not turned into calcitriol, which starves the bones of calcium.

~     Phosphorus levels rise in the blood and draw calcium out of the bones and into the blood, causing the bones to weaken.

~     Creating an imbalance of sodium, potassium, and acid-base levels in the blood, also called acidosis. When blood is not balanced, the body slows growth to focus energy on restoring the balance.

~     Decreasing the production of erythropoietin. When erythropoietin levels are low, a child may develop anemia—a condition that develops when the blood does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to cells throughout the body. Anemia can cause growth to slow or stop.

~     Making an abnormally large amount of urine, called polyuria, which disrupts the body’s fluid balance. A child with polyuria loses minerals as well. The body slows growth to make up for the lost fluid and minerals.


Cystic fibrosis


Intestinal disorders that reduce absorption of nutrients.



Diabetes that starts during childhood (usually type 1) used to be a common cause of and short stature in children, but early recognition and treatment has reduced this effect on height.


Other examples of Such diseases May include;

Aging and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to weaken and become so brittle or fragile to the point that fractures can so easily occur..

People tend to lose height as they age mainly due to osteoporosis and reduced water content in the disks (so that the distance between each vertebra is reduced).

On average, women lose about 2 inches over their lifetime, while men lose about 1 inch.



Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone

A reduction in the normal amount of thyroid hormone during childhood typically leads to short stature, among other problems, such as poor school performance, fatigue, constipation and cold intolerance.


IMAGe syndrome


IMAGe syndrome is characterized by the association of  Intrauterine (inside uterus) growth retardation, Metaphyseal hip abnormalities (and short limbs), and Genital anomalies.

A gene mutation thought to be linked to large stature has been pinpointed as the culprit of the so-called IMAGe syndrome.

Children with IMAGe syndrome have stunted growth before birth.

babies with the syndrome end up with a smaller-than-normal body and organs. Complications from the disease can be life-threatening.


Growth Hormone abnormalities

— Children with reduced growth hormone have a much reduced growth spurt around the time of puberty, leading to short stature.

Conversely, if excessive growth hormone is present before growth plates close, “giantism” — a dramatic increase in height — may follow.



— This condition is marked by a reduction in sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. Affected persons may have little or no growth spurt at the time puberty is expected.



The blood  is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma.

The predominant cells in the blood are the red blood cells whose primary function is to supply oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells and to remove waste products.

The red blood cells can transport oxygen because they contain hemoglobin, a complex protein that contains iron.

Anemia results when the number of red blood cells is reduced below normal, or there is a decrease in the amount of the body’s hemoglobin.

The most common cause of anemia in children and adolescents is iron deficiency.


Children at highest risk for developing this type of anemia are;

~   premature babies, babies born of a multiple pregnancy, babies  of anemic mothers, and children with inadequate dietary intake of iron.

~   Adolescent girls may also be at risk due to their irregular eating habits (caused by concerns about body image) compounded by normal menstrual blood loss.

~   Another less common cause of iron deficiency anemia in children is gastrointestinal blood loss associated with ulcers and certain medications.

While adequate delivery of oxygen is important for everyone’s health, it is particularly important to the rapidly growing child. 

If untreated, anemia can lead to an impairment of a child’s normal growth and development.


When children develop joint inflammation, growth of the nearby bones are often affected. If it occurs before age 3, the affected limb may be longer than expected, but if it occurs after age 9, the growth plates may close earlier than expected, leading to reduced leg length.

There is often a more generalized growth reduction in children with active arthritis.


Poor nutrition

Not having a balanced diet in your childhood days may be responsible for shorter than expected adult height.


Some of the treatment that may affect body growth.


Asthma inhalers

Research, conducted by the Federal University of Rio Grande in Brazil and University of Montreal in Canada, showed that children who used steroids for asthma had slower growth rates compared to those not using the medications. The report goes on to suggest that children treated daily with inhaled corticosteroids may grow approximately half a centimeter less during the first year of treatment.”

 Corticosteroid therapy

These powerful anti-inflammatory medications can affect height through their effects on bone development. They may be prescribed for a number of conditions including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, asthma or arthritis, although usually viewed as a last resort. If taken during childhood for prolonged periods, growth retardation is common.


  • pavani g

    i am only 5 feet and 17 years old (girl). can i grow atleast 4-6 inches taller.

    • First aim for an inch, then see how far you can go.

  • pavani g

    thanks for your reply.can i grow my legs with kicking style in taekwondo .

    • You can but it takes a long time to notice results.