Just like other adolescents of his age, an 18-year-old Vijay Jadhav was very excited about going to college after passing out from standard 10. But, he was devastated when his fellow college mates didn’t accept him well. He was often bullied by the fellow classmates and was told to attend school again. “They used to ask me what I am doing in college. You should be attending standard 5 class,” Vijay said.
Vijay hails from Kolhapur and suffers from Growth hormone deficiency (GHD). Because of which, even at the age of 16 Vijay’s height was 136 cm and he weighed only 26 kg. GHD is a medical condition which arises due to problems arising in the pituitary glands. It affects the stimulation of growth and cell reproduction of the person.
As compared to other kids, the growth of Vijay’s height and weight was slow. Initially, it wasn’t regarded as a problem by his family members. When Vijay’s physical growth wasn’t in proportion with age, they started to get worried. His condition was then pointed out by friends and family members.
“When we used to go out, people used to say that why don’t I carry him on my shoulder. It was really disheartening for us. It affected Vijay too. After hearing such comments, he used to skip meals too. Then we started to look for proper treatment for him,” said Vijay’s father Pratap Jadhav, who is informed to be working as an office boy and earns around 8-10 thousand per month. After thorough medical examination, Vijay was diagnosed with GHD. His treatment began almost two years ago under Dr Amit Asalkar, an Endocrinologist in Kolhapur.
“Vijay was brought to me in December 2015, then his height was 136 cm and weight was 26 kg. This happens in most of the cases. Parents don’t realise that there could be a hormonal problem behind the stunted physique of the child. They seek thorough investigation when the child is 8-9 standard. The treatment for Growth Hormone Deficiency should start as soon as possible,” said Dr Asalkar.
As a part of the treatment, Vijay needs to take a hormonal injection every alternate day which costs around Rs 3200.
As informed by Dr Asalkar, after two years of treatment, Vijay’s height is now 154 cm and he weighs 46 kg. Though the treatment has benefited Vijay a lot, his family is finding it difficult to manage the expenditure of it.
“In my current salary, it is difficult to manage this expenditure. So, I have been asking for help from wherever I can,” said Pratap Jadhav.
“Vijay belongs to an economically humble family. Now it is up to the family if they want to continue the treatment or not. If necessary, we will do testosterone test and then will decide the future plan of treatment,” Dr Asalkar informed.
According to Dr Shehla Shaikh, an Endocrinologist in Mumbai, it is essential to detect the GHD as soon as possible. “There is something called as height and weight charts. Parents should fill those entries regularly and monitor it closely. The growth of some kids is slow because of the genetic factors, but in case of any irregularity, an expert should be consulted. The treatment for GHD is beneficial as soon as starts,” Dr Shaikh said.