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Published by Kat Ponce

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Published by: Kat Ponce on Apr 18, 2014
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Dwarfism is a condition of short stature. It is defined by the advocacy group Little People of America (LPA) as an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches or under, as a result of a medical or genetic condition. Although other groups may extend the criteria for certain forms of dwarfism to 5 feet, the average height of an adult with dwarfism is 4 feet. There are two main categories of dwarfism -- disproportionate and proportionate. Disproportionate dwarfism is characterized by an average-size torso and shorter arms and legs or a shortened trunk with longer limbs. In proportionate dwarfism, the body parts are in proportion but shortened.
Dwarfism Causes
Dwarfism can be caused by any of more than 200 conditions. Causes of proportionate dwarfism include metabolic and hormonal disorders such as growth hormone deficiency. The most common types of dwarfism, known as skeletal dysplasias, are genetic. Skeletal dysplasias are conditions of abnormal bone growth that cause disproportionate dwarfism. They include:
The most common form of dwarfism, achondroplasia occurs in about one out of 26,000 to 40,000 babies and is evident at birth. People with achondroplasia have a relatively long trunk and shortened upper parts of their arms and legs. Other features of achondroplasia include:
a large head with a prominent forehead
a flattened bridge of the nose
protruding jaw
crowded and misaligned teeth
forward curvature of the lower spine
bowed legs
flat, short, broad feet
Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasias (SED)
. A less common form of dwarfism, SED affects approximately one in 95,000 babies. Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia refers to a group of conditions characterized by a shortened trunk, which may not become apparent until a child is between 5 and 10 years old. Other features can include:
club feet
cleft palate
severe osteoarthritis in the hips
weak hands and feet
barrel-chested appearance
Diastrophic dysplasia.
A rare form of dwarfism, diastrophic dysplasia occurs in about one in 100,000 births. People who have it tend to have shortened forearms and calves (this is known as mesomelic shortening). Other signs can include
deformed hands and feet
limited range of motion
cleft palate
ears with a cauliflower appearance

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