Growth – function, task & diseases

The growth is different from person to person and the increase in body length is continuous. Many factors play a role in growing. The growth can be divided into three phases. Humans do not always grow appropriately, which is the result of inheritance and Diseases can be.

Table of Contents

What is the growth?

The growth of a human being largely takes place through the multiplication of body cells. By dividing the cells, more and more of these cells are created. This process repeats itself continuously until the human being is fully grown.

On average, people grow up to the age of twenty-five. The growth is controlled by the human growth hormone somatotropin, which is passed through the pituitary gland (pituitary gland).

The growth is faster at night, because the concentration of the growth hormone is highest during this time. Children grow at different speeds and there are a number of factors that determine average size.

function & task

In the first phase, the period from birth to the age of three, the children grow fastest. During this time you can gain up to 45cm in height. The rate of growth is steadily decreasing.

From the age of three, one speaks of the second phase of growing. This lasts until shortly before puberty occurs. In this phase, the children grow between five and six centimeters a year.

In the third and the last phase of growth, which begins at puberty, people gain between seven and nine centimeters in height each year. The growth rate reaches its peak in this growth phase. The adolescents grow between 17 and 24 centimeters, with girls tending to grow slightly less than boys.

On average, girls grow a little faster and are initially larger than boys. However, this compensates for itself during puberty. With the End of puberty comes to a standstill. The height of adulthood has been reached.

The hormones play the biggest role in growth. They are messenger substances and pass on the information between the cells, the tissues and the organs in the body. Full adult size can only be achieved with a sufficiently high hormone level of the hormone somatotropin. This hormone regulates almost all of the growth processes that are important. It also promotes the conversion of body fat into energy, which regulate blood sugar and affect the immune system.

Not only the hormone somatotropin plays an important role in the growth process. Inheritance and the way of life of humans are also decisive. For example, if the parents are small, there is a high probability that the child will also not reach excessive body length. Already at the time of fertilization it is roughly determined how big a person will become.

It is also crucial which way of life the person pursues during the growth. In the event of permanent malnutrition or a poor composition of the food (i.e. too little protein or vitamins are consumed), the growth process can be significantly impaired.

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Diseases & complaints

With short stature, the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland did not work adequately and the child is lagging behind in physical development. The whole body appears to be an underdeveloped person.

If the thyroid does not release enough hormones after birth, this can not only affect the growth in length. These children suffer from myxedematous short stature, which can also impair cognitive abilities. By supplying the thyroid hormone, this defect can be largely remedied.

The opposite of small stature is tall stature. The anterior pituitary gland works too quickly during development. This peculiarity of growth can only become noticeable in the later years of life. In this phase, the growth of the bones is already complete. It is then not possible to increase the length of the bones, but the bones can then become larger at the ends and an enlargement of the tip occurs (acromegaly). With this clinical picture fingers and hands, as well as toes and feet, nose, lips and chin are enlarged.

Older people are more likely to struggle with back problems. The body has to bear a heavy load, which manifests itself in the form of back pain. But little people also struggle in everyday life. Not only do small people rate their quality of life as lower on average, they also suffer more frequently from depression, anxiety and malaise.

According to a study, people’s satisfaction increases with size. The concrete reason for this, however, is less to be found in the biology of humans than in the social values ​​that define a certain size as attractive.

In our age, thanks to modern medical advances, it is possible to determine the body size to be expected. An exact method is the determination of the bone age. This investigation allows conclusions to be drawn about the expected growth.

A growth curve can also be created in a somatogram. The body develops in the same percentile of the body length, which can be used to predict what the future development will be.


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Christina Cherry
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