Height is the main factor that gives self confidence to a person in his career and self-respect in his livelihood. Height is a sensitive issue in our society. People build their happiness and reach their goals, regardless of their height, but it is much harder for those shorter than average. There are many questions and misconception about human height such as what determines height? Can height be predicted earlier can height be increased at any age? Do large feet really provide exceptionally tall stature? And so on.
A normal growth table is:
|AGE||WEIGHT (kg)||HEIGHT (cm)||WEIGHT (kg)||HEIGHT (cm)|
There is certain age at which most people usually stop growing i.e. for man 21-23 and for woman 18-20. It occurs shortly after puberty. It is possible to continue growing until 22 for woman and 25 for man. A major determinant of height is how longer the longest bones the femur (in upper leg) tibia and fibula (in lower leg) grow. Long bones have growth plates. These are areas on the ends that have space allowing elongation There are a number of hormones stimulating normal development to reach ultimate height including the growth spurt that occurs around the time of puberty. These hormones are growth hormone, thyroid hormones, cortisol and sex hormones. Genes, nutrition and overall health have their effects right from the beginning. Height can be predicted in simplified way through childhood growth, parent’s height. Growth problems can be determined by your doctor based on your age, overall health and medical history & extent of the condition.
REASONS FOR DIFFERENCE IN GROWTH
Every person has been “pre-programmed” to attain a certain height. To make the most out of your potentials, you need to know the factors that affect height growth. They are
1) Genes: Genes play an important role in determining height under the best circumstances of overall health and good nutrition. It has the biggest effect on ultimate height through
a) Familial stature – Siblings in similar environments eating similar diets have approximately similar heights because of the genes from their parents. We look our parents only and not favorites when it comes to point of height. Certain groups tend to be taller or shorter due to genetic difference.
b) Genetic abnormalities- Genetic abnormalities will stunt growth. For example. Persons with Down syndrome are nearly always much shorter than their genetically normal siblings. The Turners syndrome is a genetic difference seen in girls. They are not matured sexually as they grow into adulthood. It results due to a missing X chromosome in each body cell. Any congenital problem at the time of birth in the tissues where growth occurs affects height. Dwarfism is an abnormality in which the child is shorter than other children.
C) Congenital anomalies: it is the malformation of any part of the body
Hormones produced by glands in the body modify growth. The pituitary gland is the growth machine of the body and it is the master gland of the endocrine system. It is situated in the base of the brain. It secretes somatotropin hormone which influences the development of the cells, bones, muscles, organs of the body and metabolism. The hormones have their influence on the development of 26 skeleton bones and the cartilaginous portions of 62 bones of the lower body. Growth cannot happen in absence of thyroid hormone also. Thyroxine is essential for proper chronological development and protein synthesis. Any disease in the pituitary gland will impact growth hormone which will lead to
a) Hypothyroidism – lack of thyroid hormones which may inhibit normal bone growth.
b) Cushing syndrome - Any hyper secretion of corticosteroids by the adrenal gland which affect normal growth.
c) Hypogonadism-reduction in sex hormone leading to little or no growth spurt at the time of puberty.
d) Cretinism- In children severe hypo thyroidism limits growth and leads to mental and physical retardation.
3) Malnutrition - The diet is the key factor to grow taller. The exact diet you need to grow taller is not a secret. If your favorite and regular diet includes fast foods, bakery items and carbonated beverages. Then forget about growing taller and think about growing heavier. Fresh foods will be a good diet instead of canned foods.
4) Irregular sleeping time and posture: It is during deep sleep, the production of Growth hormone is at its peak. So approximate 8 hours sleeping time is necessary to increase the amount of growth hormone. Lying straight with out any bend is the correct posture for the body to grow.
5) Intra uterine growth restriction. IUGR - this condition slows growth during pregnancy. The affected foetus inside the uterus is born smaller in weight and length than normal in proportion to its short stature. Ex- test tube babies.
6) Skeletal Abnormalities – There are more than 50 bone diseases that affect height and growth. The most common is achondroplasia which is a type of dwarfism in which the child’s arms and legs are short in proportion to his or her body length.
7) Illness that affect whole body - Any systematic disease in the digestive tract, kidney, heart, lung, or diabetes in small age or any serious stress certainly affects the growth of any individual.
8) Precocious puberty -This growth disorder is due to early onset adolescence in which a child is tall for his or her age initially but due to rapid bone maturity growth stops at an early age and they may be short as adults.
9) Normal ageing and osteoporosis – People tend to lose height as they become older. This is mostly related to osteoporosis and reduced water content in discs (so that the distance between each vertebra is reduced) on average every person loses 1-2 inches over their life.
10) Arthritis - When children develop joint inflammation growth of the nearby bones are also affected. If it occurs before age 3, the affected limb may be longer than the expected, but if it occurs after age 9, the growth plates may close earlier than expected, leading to reduced leg length.
11) Corticosteroid therapy – This powerful anti- inflammatory medications can affect height through their effects on bone development. They may be prescribed for crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, asthma or arthritis as a last resort. If it is taken during childhood for prolonged periods, growth retardation is common.
12) Idiopathic – There are several growth disorders that are idiopathic- with no known cause for the growth problem.
EFFECTS OF DIFFERENCE IN GROWTH
The difference in growth affects a person in many ways as
1) Social effect- Too taller growth or too shorter growth makes one person stand out of the society literally. The affected person’s stature makes others to look down upon him.
2) Biological effect – During sexual intercourse and pregnancy too, short people are greatly affected. In times of pregnancy also, they commonly face difficulty in delivery.
3) Psychological effect - Inferiority complex may develop affecting peaceful life
GROWTH IN CHILDREN – Measuring a child’s height and weight is important in the first few months of life. Mostly, any child will achieve its half of adult height by age 3. The primary symptom of a growth problem is growing less than 2 inches a year. Growth charts usually provide an early warning that the child has a medical problem if any. Insufficient gain in weight and height may indicate chronic illness, negligence or other problems.
GROWTH IN ADOLESCENT PERIOD – During the puberty period, changes occur in growth status including height spurt, appearance and attitude towards sex. Hereditary, health and nutrition influence in several ways for growth spurt at the time of adolescence. The growth hormone released by the pituitary gland is primarily responsible for the rapid growth at the beginning of adolescence. The thyroid gland aids in this development by releasing larger amounts of hormones. The gonads – ovaries in female and testis in males- are stimulated by the hormones secreted by the pituitary and adrenal. The growth spurt around the time of puberty occurs two years earlier in girls when compared with boys. During the pubertal growth spurt the hands and the feet enlarge before the long bones, so that for many, the first indication that rapid growth is about to begin is an increase in shoe size.
GROWTH IN ADULT AGE
Do not believe those who tell you that you cannot grow any taller after puberty. Young adults can grow a few inches taller even after the bones in the lower body become ossified. This is because besides the length of the bones in lower body, the length of spinal column in the upper body also alters height. The bone segment in the spinal column known as vertebra is held together by ligaments. Out of 33 vertebrae only the lowest 9 are fused into two immovable bones, forming the back of pelvis. All the other 24 vertebrae are permanently movable and thus never get fused. There are cartilaginous pad called discs between these vertebrae, the thickness of which determines the length of spinal column. There are totally 25 discs, their combined length accounts for a part of the total height. Since these discs are non-fusible cartilages, they can grow thicker under stimulation. The thicker the discs are the longer becomes the spinal column and taller the person grows.
NATURAL AIDS FOR SHORT STATURE
1) Sleep – Growth hormone speeds the absorption of the nutrients and amino acids into the cells, and aids growth during deep sleep. Not getting sleep regularly can lower the amount of growth hormone the body produces daily. Excess sleep will also not help secretion. Never eat a large meal within two hours of going to sleep. The body releases greatest amount of growth hormone during this time. Having excess insulin (for digesting sugar in food) within the system suppresses the higher output of growth hormone, preventing the body from taking advantage of the rest.
2) Eat Smarter - Focus on eating four to five smaller meals during your day instead of three or four larger ones. A large meal not only forces the body to store fat but also inhibits the flow of growth hormone in the blood stream due to higher insulin level. A well balanced and appropriate diet maintained throughout childhood in the absence of illness will probably lead to the maximum height possible. The average of a male is 5`6” in 1970 and this has increased to 5`9” now because of nutritious food. So believe, we are not just following our ancestors in height.
3) Healthy Lifestyle - Training right, sleeping right, eating right and keeping stress to a minimum will not only keep one healthy but will also foster the type of environment that encourages the anterior pituitary gland to do its job. Deficit in any of these areas will slow down the body functions as a whole, which in turn slows down the amount of growth hormone that is pumped into the system.
4) Exercises- Exercises with hanging bar and skipping will increase height to a certain extent. They also promote muscle growth.
AVAILABLE MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR SHORT STATURE
1) Supplementation of vitamins, proteins and calcium.
2) Growth hormone therapy-Any unbalanced level of growth hormone in our body can be treated by growth hormone therapy i.e., supplemented by tablets or injections.
3) Acupuncture-Acupuncture is also called reflexology. It initiates reflexes in muscles which is helpful in growth. Same thing is followed in Physiotherapy treatment along with limb lengthening traction
DISADVANTAGES AND SIDE EFFECTS OF TREATMENT
The main disadvantages and side effects of treatment are 1) Costly- Mostly height treatments as hormone injections, tablets and surgery is very expensive. 2) Books on height and exercise manuals are full of twists and turn which are often misunderstood or misguided.3) Painful- Doing height exercises, surgery or injections are very painful. 4) Diagnosis must be confirmed before taking hormone treatments. This requires a detailed case history with lab tests.5) Overdose of Growth hormone will lead to hypoglycemia followed by hyperglycemia or acromegaly which is a very serious problem.6) Any man made growth hormone is likely to cause high cholesterol, diabetes, liver disorders, increased tissue stiffness & allergic reaction.7) Some children may develop diabetic like symptoms or curvature of the spine because of rapid growth with growth hormone treatments.
HOMEOPATHIC APPROACH FOR SHORT STATURE
Homeopathy is the finger post on the cross roads of healing which directs the way to safe and permanent cure. Homeopathy works towards nature. All the homeopathy medicines are proved in human beings. It is very much refined. Homeopathy has no side effects at all. It comforts modern living by all means. Homeopathy deals more with patients than diseases. There are several medicines in homeopathy for stunt growth, delayed mile stones of growth, growth retardation and for enhancing height in adolescence period and adult, so for maximizing the height of a person in a natural way, homeopathy is the best treatment. It is an easy way to grow taller with out dangerous surgeries, injections and hormone therapies. You can discover a new proven heart pounding breakthrough on height growth. Thus now, to grow taller is an art of science and ignorance is its formidable enemy. An average person no matter what height he is or she is has the potential to grow taller.
Then why most people are shorter than they could be……..
(Disclaimer: The contents of this column are for informational purpose only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of healthcare professional for any health problem or medical condition.)
Dr. S. Chidambaranathan, BHMS, MD
24 E. New Mahalipatti Road
Tel: +91-452-233-8833 | +91-984-319-1011
www.drcheena.com / www.drcheena.in