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Growth Hormone Deficiency Diagnosis

Exams and Tests to Diagnose Growth Hormone Deficiency

Both children and adults can be diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency, and the exams and tests used to diagnose growth hormone deficiency are the same no matter your age.

Diagnosing growth hormone deficiency typically starts with a physical exam. This can help show your doctor if there are any signs of slowed growth.

Your doctor will check your weight, height, and body proportions. This is especially important in diagnosing a child with growth hormone deficiency. A child with growth hormone deficiency does not typically follow the normal growth charts: Their rate of growth is typically very slow, and the child is usually much shorter than other children the same age.

Other than a physical exam, there are many other tests and exams used to make a growth hormone deficiency diagnosis in children and adults.

Blood Tests for Growth Hormone Deficiency

  • Binding protein levels (IGF-I and IGFBP-3) blood tests to show whether the growth problem is caused by the pituitary gland
  • Blood tests to measure the amount of growth hormone levels in the blood
  • Blood tests to measure other levels of hormones the pituitary gland produces
  • GHRH-arginine test
  • Growth hormone stimulation test
  • Insulin tolerance test

Other Exams and Tests to Diagnose Growth Hormone Deficiency
In addition to blood tests, your doctor may perform some additional exams and tests to help diagnose growth hormone deficiency.

  • A dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan measures your bone density.
  • An MRI of the brain may be taken so your doctor can see the pituitary gland and hypothalamus.
  • Hand x-rays (typically of the left hand) can also help show your doctor your bones: Shape and size of bones change as a healthy person grows. Your doctor can see bone abnormalities with this x-ray.
  • X-rays of the head can show any problems with the bone growth of your skull.

If you or your child have signs and symptoms of growth hormone deficiency, talk to your doctor immediately so he or she can perform exams and tests to make an accurate growth hormone deficiency diagnosis.

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