It’s human nature to want to know how we measure up, but when it comes to our kids, parents often need to know.
Dr. Cayce Jehaimi is a pediatric endocrinologist with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
“When a family comes into our office, it’s partly of desperation - ‘why isn’t my child growing?’”
“When a child comes in with poor growth, sometimes that can be a linear growth problem, they’re not the expected stature. Or it could be because they’re not thriving, putting on the weight as they should. Or it could be both,” says Dr. Jehaimi.
The answers parents are looking for may be in their child’s bones. Many times a single X-ray of the wrist, hand or fingers can shed light on growth expectations.
“It’s called a bone age or bone study that looks into the maturity of the bone of the child,” Dr. Jehaimi explains. “That can give me an insight to what the body has been going through in terms of nutrition, in terms of being in puberty or not, in terms of expectations of final height.”
The study looks at growth plates which are easy to see on X-ray. By using comparison charts, specialists determine bone age. A difference between a child's bone age and their chronological age might indicate a problem. Growth hormones may be given if further tests reveal a deficiency.
“I think the sensitive period starts early, and I always reassure parents that I am not a pro-medication doctor, I am a doctor who promotes or advocates for your child’s well being. But I always say I like to see somebody who has growth problems as soon as there’s recognition.
The ultimate goal: to help a child reach their full potential.