Dwarfism is a condition where a person has a short stature. It is usually caused by a medical or genetic condition. There are two categories of dwarfism: the disproportionate and the proportionate.
Disproportionate dwarfism is characterized by an average size torso but has shorter arms and legs or it can be shortened trunk with regular or longer limbs. Proportionate dwarfism the body parts are in proportion but shortened.
The cause of dwarfism can be attributed to more than 200 disorders. Metabolic and hormonal disorders in this case growth hormone deficiency can cause proportionate dwarfism. Another condition that can cause dwarfism is the skeletal dysplasias or abnormal bone growth. It is caused by a faulty gene and is considered the most common type of dwarfism. It has several categories which include:
Achondroplasia – It is a type of dwarfism that is already evident at birth. It is characterized by a relatively long trunk and shortened limbs. Additional features are:
- A prominent forehead on a large head
- Flattened bridge of the nose
- The jaw is protruding
- The teeth are misaligned and crowded
- The lower spine has a forward curvature
- Bowed legs
- The feet are flat, short and broad
Spondyloepophyseal dysplasia or SED – A less common type of dwarfism and is characterized by the shortened trunk, club feet, severe osteoporosis in the hips, the hands and feet are weak, the chest has a barrel-chested appearance and has a cleft palate.
Diastrophic dysplasia – This type is also a rare form of dysplasia and is characterized by shortened forearms and calves. The hands and feet are deformed; there is a limited range of motion, still with cleft palate and have a cauliflower appearance for their ears.
Dwarfism is a result of genetic mutation. It can be inherited or can occur spontaneously. The other forms of dwarfism, the diastrophic dysplasia, and spondyloepiphyseal dysplasias, are inherited. The patient must receive two mutated gene to be affected with dwarfism.
Oftentimes dwarfism can be diagnosed later in a child’s life when it is already evident. Here are some of the signs to look for that can indicate dwarfism in a child.
- There is curvature of the spine
- The legs are bowed
- Arthritis and joint stiffness
- The child may complain of lower back pain or numbness in the legs
- Breathing problems may be also present
- There is late development in motor skills such as sitting up or walking
- The crowing of teeth
If you think you are suffering from Dwarfism you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Dwarfism as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).