baby health

Growth delay - Causes and Symptoms


Growth retardation is defined as a constantly low weight for age and sex (below the 3rd-5th percentile) or as a significant reduction in growth percentiles compared to the expected growth rate. The causes are many, but the physiological basis is always inadequate nutrition.

The organic growth delay is due to acute and chronic diseases that interfere with the nutritional intake, absorption or metabolism.

  • Reduced nutrient intake can be a consequence of cleft lip, cleft palate and CNS disorders (eg cerebral palsy).
  • Malabsorption, on the other hand, can derive from celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, parasitosis and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative rectocolitis).
  • Growth retardation can also be a consequence of an altered metabolism and is found due to congenital errors and deficits (eg galactosemia and hereditary fructose intolerance), genetic diseases and chromosomal alterations (eg Down and Turner syndrome).
  • An increased energy requirement, on the other hand, can be found in infections, heart failure and hyperthyroidism.
  • Other causes include congenital heart disease, liver disease, lung disease and chronic nephropathy.

In many other cases, medical disorders that prevent the growth of the child cannot be identified. The non-organic growth delay, in fact, may depend on the lack of food secondary to psychosocial problems, such as poverty, abandonment, lack of stimulation, disturbed living environments and bad interaction with the parental figures.

Possible Causes * of Growth Delay

  • Achondroplasia
  • AIDS
  • Alcoholism
  • Fanconi anemia
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy
  • Celiac disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Diabetes
  • sickle cell
  • Hepatitis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Cytomegalovirus infection (CMV)
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Cleft lip
  • Gaucher disease
  • Cooley's disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • Hirschsprung disease
  • Imperfect osteogenesis
  • osteopetrosis
  • cleft palate
  • Infant Cerebral Palsy
  • Spastic paraparesis
  • Placenta Previa
  • Progeria
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Down syndrome
  • Fanconi syndrome
  • Prader-Willi syndrome
  • Turner syndrome
  • Feto-alcohol syndrome
  • Trisomy 13
  • Trisomy 18
  • Tuberculosis