Growth hormones found to have additional benefits -

Benefits of growth hormones

What do you do if your child isn't growing? Despite what you may have heard, growth hormones might be the answer.

At nearly five feet tall, Billy Lojidisee is one of the tallest 10-year-old's on his baseball team. His older brother Jake is stretching near the top of his class too. It's not surprising, considering their dad is 6'2". What is surprising, according to their mother, is they stopped growing - Jake at around 6 years old, Billy at 3.

Jake remembers in 3rd grade, "I was walking by kindergartners who was the same size that I was, so it occasionally upset me."

His father John says, "All I want to see them do is hit their potential, whatever they're genetically targeted to be is what I want them."

For up to 1.2% of the population to hit that target, they need help - injections of growth hormone.

Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Mike Foster treats children with growth hormone deficiency. He says, "By and large these children are capable of making the hormone. Their problem is they don't release it normally. I think a lot of what we tend to dismiss as a familial trait, probably is treatable."

Foster adds, "Growth hormone doesn't just make your bones longer, it makes them stronger too. So the kids who need growth hormone and don't get it have terrible bone density and they're prone to osteoporosis at very early ages."

Muscle mass is affected and cardiovascular function.

"Heart muscle that lacks the stimulus of growth hormone doesn't pump efficiently," says Dr. Foster.

So the medical necessity is monumental. There's a scientific test for it, but it starts with growth charts. The FDA says children who are at or below the 1.2 percentile should be tested.

Normal growth for kids is about 2 inches a year. Before treatment, Billy was on target to be 5'1" - now he's headed for 6'2", and Jake, near that.

Both Jake and Billy had some catching up. Jake says, "Learning that the problem you've been struggling with can be fixed. I mean really, it's a big relief."

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