What is Dwarfism – Getting the Best Treatment?

Do you wonder why certain people are so small (dwarf)? Or what are little people or dwarfism? In short, the condition of short stature is referred to as a dwarfism. The advocacy group defines all the individuals of height 4 feet 10 inches or under as Little People of America (LPA). This condition basically arises due to medical or genetic defects.

Dwarfism

The two main categories of dwarfism are:

  • Disproportionate dwarfism
  • Proportionate dwarfism

In disproportionate dwarfism, a person has an average sized torso, shorter trunk, short legs and arms but longer limbs. Proportionate dwarfism is characterized by proportionate body parts but in short length.

Sometimes this ailment is not evident in early ages of child. But still there are signs to look for in kids that indicate the presence of dwarfism. These signs are:

  • Bowed legs
  • Breathing problems
  • Weight problems
  • Increased chance of ear infections
  • Crowding of teeth
  • Joint stiffness
  • Curvature of spine
  • Arthritis
  • Late development of certain motor skills such as walking or sitting up
  • Lower back pain
  • Numbness in legs

Dwarfism treatment

Timely diagnosis and treatment of dwarfism helps in lessening the effect of this ailment. All those who are suffering from dwarfism due to deficiency of growth hormone can be treated with growth hormone.

But people with dwarfism if, is suffering from orthopedic or medical complications can opt for following dwarfism treatment:

  • Corrective surgeries can be taken for treating deformities like bowed legs, cleft palate or club foot.
  • To relieve spinal cord compression, surgery can be done to widen spinal canal.
  • Tracheotomy can be done to improve breathing process through small airways.
  • If a person is affected with small facial structures, large tonsils and small chest due to dwarfism, surgery can be carried out to remove tonsils for improving breathing.
  • Shunt can be inserted to get rid of excess fluid and to relieve brain from excess pressure.

Other dwarfism treatment may include the following:

  • To get relief from crowding of teeth which occurs due to small jaw, orthodontic treatment can be taken.
  • Physical therapy can be taken by patients to strengthen muscles and also to improve motion of joints.
  •  Exercises and nutritional guidance to prevent obesity which can cause skeletal problems in body.
  • Placement of draining tubes in middle ear to get rid of hair loss problem which may occur due to repeated infections in ear.
  • To improve curvature of spine, back braces can be inserted.

Some Basic Dwarfism Facts

  • All those who suffer from the dwarfism condition generally have height of not more than 4 feet 10 inches.
  • It is medical disorder which causes person to remain abnormally short.
  • Dwarfism can affect people of all races or ethnicities.
  • 30000 people in US and 651700 people in entire world have got affected by dwarfism. Types of dwarfism may range to 300 different types that are present all around the world.
  • Any person affected with dwarfism should not be called as ‘midget’ as it is considered highly offensive.
  • 80% of LP re born to average sized parents.
  • It won’t be surprising to say one day you or your children can have a child with any form of dwarfism.
  • Number of people from Little People community doesn’t treat it as a disability while the Americans with disabilities act (ADA) protects the rights of people with dwarfism condition.
  • Some forms of dwarfism include medical complications, much more severe in comparison to others.
  • Dwarfism does not combat one’s ability to perform various day-today functions.  People with dwarfism can do anything just like any average sized person but sometimes in different way.
  • Little People community prefers to use word ‘average’ than ‘normal’. For e.g. ‘average sized parents’ rather than ‘normal sized parents’.
  •  Dwarfism should be regarded as a disease which requires any treatment or cure. You’ll be surprised to know that number of people suffering from dwarfism can live a happy and long life without much of difficulties.
  •  Dwarfism is not an intellectual disability. Most people with dwarfism condition enjoy average intelligence.
  • Achondroplasia is the most common form of dwarfism. It occurs in about once every 25000 births. People with this condition require special equipment to walk, hear and speak.
  • The average life expectancy of person with dwarfism is same as the people of average height.