Most common types of dwarfism


Dwarfism occurs when a person is small. This generally results in an adult being four feet, 10 inches or shorter. For children, this means being below the growth curve for their age. This will be less than the third percentile, which means that 97% of children are taller at the same age.

People with this condition generally prefer the terms "stunted" or "little person" to "dwarf." Many people find the term "dwarf" offensive.

In this article, we will discuss the different types of dwarfism. He will also talk about the causes of dwarfism and how the doctor diagnoses it.

Get Medical Information / Jessica Olah


More than 300 different conditions can cause dwarfism. All people with dwarfism are short. But different things can cause dwarfism. And people with different types of dwarfism have different physical characteristics.

Most conditions are genetic or inherited at birth. They are also noticed after the baby is born. There are two main categories of dwarfism:

  • Disproportionate dwarfism: This means that a person has medium-sized body parts, such as the head and / or torso. But they also have shorter-than-normal body parts, like legs and arms. The most common type of disproportionate dwarfism, and the most common type of dwarfism in general, is achondroplasia. This is when a person has a normal-sized torso, but short arms and legs.
  • Proportional dwarfism : This means that the person is below average in everything. Growth hormone deficiency dwarfism, primordial dwarfism, and Seckel syndrome are all types of proportional dwarfism.

Dwarfism is a relatively rare condition. Each of the individual types of dwarfism is even rarer.


Achondroplasia accounts for 70% of all cases of dwarfism. It affects approximately one in 25,000 to 30,000 newborns.

In achondroplasia, there is a problem with a gene that allows the body to turn cartilage into bone as it grows. Long bones are often affected.

People with this type of dwarfism have:

  • Relatively long trunk
  • Short arms and legs
  • Hands and short fingers, ring and middle fingers are separated.
  • Disproportionately large head with prominent forehead.
  • Twisted legs
  • Curved spine

Many people with achondroplasia have hydrocephalus , a fluid in the brain. Hydrocephalus associated with achondroplasia is usually mild. But if it is severe or persistent, the doctor may place a shunt that looks like a drain from the brain to the abdomen.

Some people with achondroplasia also have sleep apnea or sleep apnea . This is a condition where you stop breathing or your breathing slows down while you sleep.

Other types

Examples of other types of dwarfism include:


Dwarfism may be due to a genetic disorder. It can also be caused by a medical or hormonal condition.


Most people with dwarfism have genetic mutations. This means that they have changes in certain genes . These mutations interfere with normal development. They can also affect the growth of cartilage and bones in the body.

Since the arms and legs have the longest bones, any problems with normal bone development often lead to shortening of the limbs. This results in short stature.

Any genetic change that causes dwarfism can be inherited from the parents. It can also develop during fetal development.

Two short people can have a non-dwarf baby. Parents of average height can give birth to a child with achondroplasia.

Medical reasons

Some non-genetic types of dwarfism can be caused by a deficiency of growth hormone . They can also occur if the baby's or child's body does not receive the nutrients it needs to grow and develop properly. A specialist can usually treat these types of dwarfism with growth hormones.


Doctors can diagnose some types of dwarfism early in pregnancy through genetic testing .

Some cases of achondroplasia can be diagnosed in late pregnancy with an ultrasound, a test that uses sound waves to create a picture of the baby.

The ultrasound can show that the arms and legs are shorter than average and can also show if the head of the growing baby is larger than average. However, dwarfism often cannot be diagnosed before the baby is born.

Watch out

Dwarfism itself is not a disease, so there is no "cure." Most people with dwarfism have the same level of intelligence as people of average height. They also lead a healthy and active life.

But conditions that cause dwarfism can cause health complications. These health complications often affect the spine and lower extremities.

Some medical problems associated with dwarfism are treated with surgery. These surgeries are generally performed on the following parts of the body:

  • behind
  • Neck
  • Leg
  • Unique
  • Middle ear

Surgical treatment can help improve your child's quality of life and survival.

If a child is very short, they may not be diagnosed with dwarfism if there are no other traits besides short stature. Many people on the short side of the normal growth spectrum do not suffer from dwarfism.


Dwarfism occurs when a person is short. Dwarfism is caused by different things. Most forms of dwarfism are genetic or inherited at birth. More than 300 genetic conditions can cause dwarfism. It can also be caused by a medical or hormonal condition.

Dwarfism is not a disease, so there is no "cure". Most people with dwarfism have the same level of intelligence as people of average height. They can also lead a healthy and active lifestyle like anyone else.

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