Who says that reaching the heights of success require you to be tall, dark and handsome? The Game of Thrones is world’s most famous television show and so Peter Dinklage is the most famous short person in the world. As far as this popular show is concerned, Peter is not only famous face in the television industry but probably he is also a familiar face with dwarfism. Peter graciously dealt with his dwarfism and one of the interviews in 2013 he said,” When I was younger, I definitely let it get to me. As an adolescent, I was bitter and angry, and I definitely put up these walls. But the older you get, you realize you just have to have a sense of humor. You just know that it’s not your problem. It’s theirs.”
You might have wondered what dwarfism means and how some people are affected with it. Achondroplasia is a congenital genetic disorder and is a form of short-limbed dwarfism. Achondroplasia is caused by a gene mutation in the FGR3 gene. All people who have only a single copy of the normal FGR3 gene and a single copy of the FGR3 gene mutation will have achondroplasia. All people with achondroplasia have short stature with a normal sized torso and short limbs.
The disorder occurs in approximately one in 25,000 live births and it is more common in males than females. People with achondroplasia generally have normal intelligence levels and the abnormalities are only physical. At birth, a child with this condition will typically have weak muscle tone. The symptoms of achondroplasia in children will be significantly short stature compared to their age and sex. They have short arms and legs especially the upper arms and thighs in comparison to their overall body height. Short fingers, large head, abnormally large forehead and underdevelopment of the mid-face region, particularly between the forehead and upper jaw, are the distinctive symptoms of achondroplasia.
They usually have breathing problems in which breathing stops or slows down for short periods (apnea) and other health issues they may have such as obesity and recurrent ear infections. Apart from that they may experience difficulty in bending elbows, develop bowed legs, may develop an abnormal curvature of the spine and may develop new or more severe spinal stenosis.
Some features of achondroplasia can be detected during an ultrasound. Achondroplasia can be diagnosed after the baby is born by looking at his or her features. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for achondroplasia; however, antibiotics may be given for ear infections. Surgery may be performed in severe forms of spinal stenosis.
Some medical practitioners may use growth hormones to increase the growth rate of a child’s bones. But again their long-term effects have not been established yet.
Children with achondroplasia need careful monitoring and support from family for their social adjustment. People with achondroplasia need to adopt a physical arrangement such as avoiding sports that could damage the spine. Overall, people with such condition can lead a normal happy and fulfilling life.