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Difference Between Dwarfism and Cretinism

The main distinction between cretinism (a condition of severely stunted physical and mental growth) and dwarfism (short stature) is that whereas cretinism is a syndrome caused by a thyroid hormone shortage that results in both dwarfism (short stature) and mental retardation, dwarfism (short stature) refers to a condition of growth retardation that results in an unusually small adult stature.

The main sign of cretinism (caused by a thyroid hormone shortage) is both small stature and mental impairment, whereas the key sign of dwarfism (retarded growth due to genetics) is short stature or stunted growth during youth.


  • Both diseases result from a deficiency condition, respectively
  • Short adult stature is common


Dwarfism is defined as short stature or short growth brought on by a medical or hereditary/genetic problem.

A genetic mutation (a change to a gene’s DNA sequence to produce something different) that impairs bone growth is one of the most frequent causes of dwarfism.

Generally speaking, dwarfism (short stature) is defined as adult height of 4 feet, 10” Common problems of dwarfism include crowded teeth (malalignment), hunched backs (A forward rounding of the back), and legs that bow.

The goal of treatments is to lessen problems. The form of the spine may be stabilized and corrected through surgery. In certain circumstances, hormone therapy (to boost your hormone levels) may result in a final height rise.


Cretinism is a disorder marked by severely delayed physical and mental development brought on by untreated congenital hypothyroidism (thyroid hormone deficiency present at birth). Generic, sporadic (persistent sporadic congenital non-autoimmune hyperthyroidism), or endemic (a condition caused by inadequate supply of iodine in food) congenital hypothyroidism are all possible.

Difference between Dwarfism and Cretinism



It is also called short stature that results from a genetic or medical condition.


The modern term for cretinism is called Congenital iodine deficiency syndrome. It is basically underactivity of the thyroid gland (improper functioning of the thyroid gland) at birth which results in retarded growth and retarded mental development.



  • Hereditary and metabolic disorders 
  • Growth-hormone deficiency


  • Congenital thyroid deficiency



  • Short stature
  • Disproportionate dwarfism is a condition in which one or more body parts are abnormally big or small in comparison to other body parts
  • Along with the damaged body parts, facial features are also impacted
  • Sexual maturation is postponed
  • A person may develop intellectual disability as a result of it
  • There could be a possibility of mental impairment
  • It might make dating and marriage more difficult


  • It starts from birth
  • Body development and growth is hampered 
  • Also impacted is mental health and brain development
  • Infertility is prevalent and ovulation is hindered
  • Skin swelling and hair loss 
  • Puberty and bone development are both significantly delayed
  • The affected person is unable to walk or stand
  • Difficulty in speech and reliance on others to provide basic care
  • Reflexes and thoughts move more slowly
  • Other signs could be a bulging belly or tongue, or thicker skin.



  • Dwarfism can be identified on the basis of overt symptoms such as skewed growth
  • Bone X-rays might be used for the diagnosis
  • Genetic testing (looks for changes, sometimes called mutations or variants, in your DNA) can be used to identify it.


  • These symptoms, such as thicker skin, an expanded tongue, or a bulging abdomen, might be used to identify it
  • The individual might have goiter.



  • Surgery 
  • Medication for addressing hormone abnormalities
  • Hormone replacement therapy, however effective only if done before the child grows


By consuming the right amount of iodine, cretinism can be cured.


The points of difference between Dwarfism and Cretinism have been summarized as below:


What is the difference between hypothyroidism and dwarfism?

A shortage in the production of thyroid hormone (hormones produced and released by the thyroid gland) is the root cause of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). The most prominent skeletal symptom of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is dwarfism (short stature), yet the majority of sufferers show no skeletal symptoms.

What is the difference between dwarfism and stunting?

Stunting is a form of chronic malnutrition (recurrent undernutrition), whereas dwarfism can be brought on by other systemic illnesses (defined as a disorder that can affect a few organs and tissues or even the whole body), such as hormonal or genetic issues.

What is the difference between dwarfism and growth hormone deficiency?

Growth hormone deficiency is also called as dwarfism.

What disease is opposite of dwarfism?

Gigantism is the opposite of dwarfism. 

What is cretinism known by today?

Today, cretinism (now obsolete) is called congenital hypothyroidism – an underactive thyroid function at birth.

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References :

[0]Chen, Z. P., & Hetzel, B. S. (2010). Cretinism revisited. Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 24(1), 39-50.

[1]Klingseisen, A., & Jackson, A. P. (2011). Mechanisms and pathways of growth failure in primordial dwarfism. Genes & development, 25(19).

[2]Lin, S., Li, C., Li, C., & Zhang, X. (2018). Growth hormone receptor mutations related to individual dwarfism. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(5), 1433.

[3]Vanderpas, J. B., Contempré, B., Duale, N. L., Goossens, W., Bebe, N. G. O., Thorpe, R., ... & Diplock, A. T. (1990). Iodine and selenium deficiency associated with cretinism in northern Zaire. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 52(6), 1087-1093.

[4]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAFYQ_52UMs-young-man-with-dwarfism-working-from-home/

[5]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAC8UgVOqjc-teenage-boy-with-cretinism/

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