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Dwarfism ( UK: ; US: ) occurs when an individual organism is short in stature resulting from a medical condition caused by slow growth. In humans, dwarfism is sometimes defined as an adult height of less than . Dwarfism can be caused by more than 300 distinct medical conditions, such that the symptoms and characteristics of individuals with dwarfism vary greatly. Disproportionate dwarfism is characterized by one or more body parts being relatively large or small in comparison to those of an average-sized adult, with growth variations in specific areas being apparent. In cases of proportionate dwarfism, the body appears normally proportioned, but is unusually small.

There is no single treatment for dwarfism. Individual differences, such as bone growth disorders, sometimes can be treated through surgery. Some hormone disorders can be treated through medication and by hormone replacement therapy; this treatment must be done before the child's growth plates fuse. Individual accommodations, such as specialized furniture, are often used by people with dwarfism. Many support groups provide services to aid individuals with dwarfism and the discrimination they may face because of their dwarfism.

For people, in addition to the medical aspect of the condition, there are social and sociological aspects as well. For a person with dwarfism, height discrimination can lead to ridicule in childhood and discrimination in adulthood. In the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, and other English-speaking countries, some people with dwarfism prefer to be called "little people".

Historically, the term " midget" was used to describe "proportionate dwarfs"; however, this term is now regarded as offensive and pejorative by some[ Merriam-Webster Dictionary Entry for midget: ''sometimes offensive: a very small person; specifically: a person of unusually small size who is physically well-proportioned. ] (see Terminology''). Hypotonia, or low muscle tone, is common in dwarfs, but intelligence and lifespan are usually normal.



n. a genetic abnormality resulting in short stature [syn: nanism]



n. The condition of being a dwarf.

Usage examples of "dwarfism".

This was a type of dwarfism that resulted from a spontaneous mutation.

He went to medical reference on his computer and let it search Retarded Growth, Premature Maturity, and Dwarfism, and sat down to read it on screen.

My guess is that at the very beginning of his teaching career he realized that he would have to compensate in some very definite, dramatic way for the physical inadequacies of his person -- his extreme nearsightedness, his dwarfism making him laughable, vulnerable.

Such pituitary failure in young produces dwarfism, a tendency to gross obesity, and arrested sexual development.

I can get a patient in time, in childhood, often a humiliating condition like dwarfism can be cured or tempered.

Just as two people with dwarfism may produce a child of average height, so can two Muggles, who have mostly dormant magic genes, produce a child with enough active magic genes to be a witch or wizard.

His dwarfism had crippled him, causing intermittent flashes of agony in his legs, hips, and chest, but he had the upper body strength of an ape (no racial slur intended -- it was a surprising compensatory fact of his unique build), and he refused to let his pain, even when severe, restrict his activity.