The key difference between dwarfism and cretinism is that dwarfism refers to a condition of growth retardation that causes an abnormally short adult stature while cretinism is a condition arising from the deficiency of thyroid hormone, which causes dwarfism and mental retardation.
Dwarfism and cretinism are two conditions arising due to medical disorder and deficiency disorder, respectively. Dwarfism is the condition of being a dwarf. In contrast, cretinism is the condition of dwarfisms and mental retardation. It is mainly caused due to the deficiency of thyroid hormone. Moreover, cretinism is a condition present at birth.
What is Dwarfism?
Dwarfism is a condition of growth retardation. It produces an abnormally short adult stature. Dwarfism arises due to several factors. A variety of hereditary and metabolic disorders can cause dwarfism. Not only that, insufficient nutrition during crucial phases of growth and development, as well as growth-hormone deficiency, also causes dwarfism.
Achondroplasia, hypochondroplasia, and diastrophic dwarfism are three common forms of dwarfism. In achondroplasia, the trunk appears in normal size, but the limbs are extremely short, and the head is unusually large. Moreover, intelligence and life span seem normal. Hypochondroplasia shows similar characteristics of achondroplasia except for the head size. Head is in normal size in hypochondroplasia. Diastrophic dwarfism results in progressive, crippling skeletal deformities. Also, diastrophic dwarfism has a higher risk of death due to respiratory failure during early infancy. Pituitary dwarfism is another form of dwarfism caused due to a deficiency of pituitary growth hormone.
Dwarfism is considered to be inherited. It is because short parents tend to produce short children. However, short parents may also produce children of average height.
What is Cretinism?
Cretinism is a condition of dwarfism and mental retardation arising due to the deficiency of thyroid hormone. Therefore, it is a condition caused due to congenital thyroid deficiency. Cretinism is present at birth, mostly due to maternal iodine deficiency. Maternal iodine deficiency arises due to the deficiency of iodine in the mother’s diet during pregnancy. Synthesis of thyroid hormones mainly depends on iodines. Thyroid hormone is essential for healthy growth, brain, and nervous system development and its deficiency causes impaired neurological function, stunted growth, and physical deformities as seen in cretinism.
In addition to severely stunted physical and mental growth in cretinism, bone maturation and puberty are also delayed. Moreover, reproduction is also affected. Thus, infertility is common in cretinism. Furthermore, the effect of cretinism on the nervous system results in reduced muscle tone and coordination. In severe neurological impairment, a person may not be able to stand or walk. When considering the different body parts, they are disproportionate in cretinism compared to dwarfism.
What are the Similarities Between Dwarfism and Cretinism?
- Dwarfism and cretinism are two health conditions.
- In both conditions, short adult stature is common.
- Also, hormones affect both conditions.
What is the Difference Between Dwarfism and Cretinism?
Dwarfism is a condition of being a dwarf due to hereditary and metabolic disorders. Meanwhile, cretinism is a condition of severe physical and mental retardation due to a deficiency of thyroid hormones during early pregnancy. So, this is the key difference between dwarfism and cretinism. Short stature or stunted growth during youth is the major symptom in dwarfism while in cretinism, both short stature and mental retardation are major symptoms.
Moreover, dwarfism is caused due to hereditary and metabolic disorders and growth-hormone deficiency while creti,nism is mainly caused due to congenital thyroid deficiency.
The below infographic summarizes the difference between dwarfism and cretinism.
Summary – Dwarfism vs Cretinism
Dwarfism is a condition of being a dwarf due to hereditary and medical disorders. Cretinism is a condition arising from the deficiency of a thyroid hormone, which causes dwarfism and mental retardation. So, this is the key difference between dwarfism and cretinism. In dwarfism, reproductive function and development of the nervous system are normal while in cretinism, both reproductive function and the development of the nervous system are affected. Moreover, different body parts are proportionate in dwarfism while they are disproportionate in cretinism. Furthermore, in dwarfism, the mental condition may be normal while in cretinism, the mental condition is abnormal. Thus, this summarizes the difference between dwarfism and cretinism.
1. “People with dwarfism from the Philippines in 1914, “Philipino midgets” LCCN2007680836 (cropped)” – Miscellaneous Items in High Demand, PPOC, Library of Congress – Library of CongressCatalog: (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Joseph le crétin – Fonds Trutat – MHNT.PHa.912.PR34 cropped” By Eugène Trutat – This photograph is part of the Fonds Eugène Trutat, preserved by the muséum de Toulouse. It was provided to Wikimedia Commons as part of a cooperation project with Wikimédia France (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia