Many of you may or may not be aware of a condition diagnosed as failure to thrive. I myself just became aware of this, and thought it would be an informative topic to write on, however there isn't much information out there on it and it does seem to be somewhat of a medical anomaly.
Failure to thrive has been recognized as a medical condition since the early 1900s. It describes a condition rather than a specific disease. Children/infants that are considered as failing to thrive have a rate of growth that does not meet the expected growth rate for a child their age. It's hard to know what rate of growth is expected for any individual child/infant, since many factors, can and do influence growth. Failure to thrive is believed to affect up to 5 percent of the population but is most common in the first six months of a child's life. It is commonly seen in babies born prematurely.
It is important from medical standpoint to determine whether failure to thrive is resulting from medical problems or factors in the environment, such as abuse or neglect.
There are many medical issues that may cause failure to thrive:
~Thyroid hormone deficiency, growth hormone deficiency, or other hormone deficiencies
~Damage to the brain or central nervous system
~Heart or lung problems
~Anemia or other blood disorders
~Gastrointestinal problems that result in a lack of digestive enzymes
~Long-term gastroenteritis and reflux
~Complications of pregnancy and low birth weight
Other factors that may lead to failure to thrive:
~Economic problems that affect nutrition, living conditions, and parental attitudes
~Exposure to infections, parasites, or toxins
~Poor eating habits, such
~Many times the cause cannot be determined.
The treatment depends on the cause of the delayed growth and development. Delayed growth due to nutritional factors can be resolved by educating the parents to provide a well-balanced diet.
If psychosocial factors are involved, treatment should include improving the family dynamics and living conditions. Parental attitudes and behavior may contribute to a child's problems and need to be examined. In many cases, a child may need to be hospitalized initially to focus on implementation of a comprehensive medical, behavioral, and psychosocial treatment plan.