Saturday July 20, 2019

Growth Hormone Deficiency May Also Hit Healthy Children

Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters.

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FILE - UNICEF staff measure a girl's height to see if she is stunted in a village health clinic of South Hamgyong province, North Korea. VOA

Most healthy children between the ages of four and 10 grow about five centimeters (two inches) a year. So, one family knew something was wrong when their son fit into the same clothes, season after season. Doctors were able to get him growing once again after testing for a growth hormone.

Eleven year-old Spencer Baehman is passionate about baseball.

“My goal is to play college baseball,” Spencer said.

There was only one problem. Spencer was the shortest player on his team. It didn’t stop him from playing, but the height difference was noticeable. And it made Spencer feel different.

“I want to be as tall as these kids,” Spencer said.

At first, Spencer’s parents thought their son was just small, but gradually, they suspected something was wrong. His mom, Stephanie Baehman, became worried.

“It really set in one year coming out of winter into spring when he got out his cleats for spring baseball and he put them on, and they fit. And they never should have fit. Those were from the spring prior,” Baehman said.

Spencer’s parents set up an appointment with Dr. Bert Bachrach, the chief of pediatric endocrinology at University of Missouri Health Care. Nurses measured Spencer’s height.

After careful testing, Dr. Bachrach determined a growth hormone deficiency was causing Spencer’s growth failure. Hormones are basically chemicals that send messages from one cell to another.

“Growth hormone just doesn’t affect your growth, it affects your muscle mass and fat distribution, so that affects your cholesterol, that affects you overall, it also affects your overall sense of wellbeing,” Bachrach said.

Young Kids learning
Young Kids learning. pixabay

Growth hormone insufficiency is a disorder involving the pituitary gland which is a small, pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain. It’s this gland that produces human growth hormone, among others.

Also Read: Poor Aerobic Fitness Increases Risk of Diabetes in Kids

Every day, Spencer’s mother gives him a daily hormone injection. Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters (six inches). But just in case he doesn’t grow tall, he has a reminder written in each of his baseball caps.

“It says HDMH, which means height doesn’t measure heart,” Spencer read.

And heart is something Spencer has plenty of. (VOA)

Next Story

Online Games: What Risks Do They Pose To Children?

Additionally, parents should monitor their children’s gaming habits closely to ensure that they do not fall victim of any cybercrimes

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MBA, online training, skills, computer
Sitting at a computer with jutting head forward to look more closely at the screen compresses the neck and can cause fatigue, headaches.

Taking a step back, kids used to gather around in the field to get to enjoy their creative games such as soccer. Not to say that they do not do this today, but to say that they have alternative pastime games to play such as Caillou games– thanks to the internet. Digital technology has indeed made waves in the gaming industry. And children are now able to access online games quickly. Like any other invention, there is always two sides of the coin; the good and the bad. In as much as playing online games is beneficial, there are also some risks that they pose to your children. Let’s dig deeper into some of these risks;

  1. Addiction

Perhaps this is one of the main dangers that children are exposed to when playing online games. Online gaming brought a lot of conveniences as the games are easily accessible. As such, without necessary restrictions being taken by the parent, a child can easily fall to gaming addiction. Setting time limits is a considerable measure to be taken as it ensures that your child doesn’t get hooked. Secondly, parents should also monitor their children’s gaming habits. Some of the warning signs of addiction include a child always being on their phones, withdrawing from family members, sudden changes of behaviors and so on.

  1. Cyberbullying

It is quite unfortunate that children are at the risk of being bullied even in the online space. Sometimes when your child is playing against other players, they may receive threatening messages which instil fear in them. Sometimes, they are even threatened to be killed if they tell their parents about it. However, as aforementioned, it is vital for parents to monitor the gaming habits of their children. If you notice any sudden changes in their behaviour, it is good to talk to your child to find out what is going on. Additionally, upon the realization that your child is a victim of cyberbullying, you can either report the issue or block the block bully.

  1. Malware

Viruses slowly creep in console devices, tablets or even through smartphones. Therefore, parents need to be very keen on the types of games their child is downloading. Some of them come in as links and the moment the kid clicks it; the virus gets into your computer. And oftentimes, before you get to realise that your device is malware-infected, the virus will have already done a lot of damage. Therefore, it is crucial first to install anti-virus software. Significantly more,  lock the play store by setting a password so that your kids don’t download any game without their consent.

online games
Representational image. Pixabay
  1. Privacy issues

Parents need to start gaming conversations as soon as they realize their children are getting interested in online games. Let them know that they need to take care of themselves in the online space. Also, inform them that they should never use their real names on this accounts and neither should they share any information with any gamer on the site. Sharing their personal information is one way that cybercriminals use to manipulate your kids and threaten them. And to avoid this, it is best to take the necessary precautions.

  1. Health risks

We cannot neglect the fact that there are a number of health risks associated with continuous gaming. For one, if a child spends too much time seated in front of the computer, they might start complaining about back pains, neck pains, fatigue and eyesight problems. However, all these can be avoided by ensuring that children don’t spend too much time in front of the computer and secondly by making sure they have a comfortable gaming setting.

Also Read: Chennai-Based Security Researcher Wins $30,000 after He Spotted Flaw in Instagram

  1. Sexual exploitation

Sometimes, when a child is looking for online games to download, they might stumble upon games that have some sexual content. If not keen enough, the child might get introduced to sexual content and pornographic materials at a very early stage. Also, there have been a lot of cases where malicious people start chatting with children only for them to begin exploiting them sexually. Watch out for such!

Take Away

As children start gaming online, parents should talk to them about the risks too. Additionally, parents should monitor their children’s gaming habits closely to ensure that they do not fall victim of any cybercrimes.