What is Achondroplasia Dwarfism?
Have you ever watched any of the shows on TV about the real lives of people living with dwarfism? If you have, you've probably heard of achondroplasia dwarfism. Achondroplasia dwarfism is the most common type of dwarfism. It is a genetic condition which causes the limbs of a person to be shorter then normal. These individuals have normal-sized torsos but their legs and arms are shorter than is typical.
The number of babies born with achondroplasia each year ranges from roughly one in 15,000 to one in 40,000. Males with the condition are generally around four feet ten inches tall or 131 centimeters. Females born with achondroplasia are generally four feet one inch tall or 124 centimeters.
Symptoms of Achondroplasia
Achondroplasia is not a bacterial infection, caused by a virus or simply fixed with drugs. This is a genetic condition that is caused by mutation, a change in genetic code, that alter the genes that are expressed. A set of parents can be of normal stature but have an achondroplastic baby simply due to mutation.
Symptom is not the appropriate word to describe how achondroplasia is presented as symptoms are typically treated in medicine with the intention of lessening them. There are specific characteristics associated with achrondroplasia:
- Short arms; the upper arm is short, which results in a limited range of motion.
- Short legs; the thigh of the leg is generally short, this also limits the range of motion.
- Normal sized torso.
- Enlarged head, called macrocephaly. In general, individuals with achondroplasia have a larger forehead.
- Short fingers.
- Normal intelligence.
Potential Health Issues
Individuals who have achondroplasia can have other health issues associated with their genetic condition. Shortened breath can cause times when the individual will stop breathing, also called apnea. People with this condition can also be overweight as a result of reduced movement. Children with this condition typically have bowing of the legs and a curved spine, resulting in back pain. More serious conditions associated with achondroplasia are compression of the spinal cord due to a narrowing of the spinal canal and swelling of the brain at birth.
Treatment for Achondroplasia
Achondroplasia does not have a cure or treatment. This is a genetic condition that people are born with and must live with. The health issues associated with the condition can be treated with medication to treat pain, or surgery to lessen pain or change leg bowing or spinal issues.
One in 15,000 to 40,000 babies each year are born with a genetic disease called achondroplasia dwarfism. Individuals with this condition typically have smaller limbs, a normal torso, and enlarged head. Shortened limbs reduce range of motion and can cause other health issues. This condition can result in back pain, bowed legs, nerve problems associated with a narrowing spinal canal, brain swelling, and breathing issues. These health issues can be treated with modern healthcare tools such as drugs or surgery; however, achondroplasia is a genetic condition that cannot be cured. Individuals with this condition can have normal-sized parents and can also have normal-sized children. Individuals with this condition are healthy and capable of living long lives.
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