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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)



* Not a rare disease


Dwarfism is a condition that is characterized by short stature, usually resulting in an adult height of 4'10" or shorter.[1][2] Dwarfism can and most often does occur in families where both parents are of average height.[3] It can be caused by any one of more than 300 conditions, most of which are genetic. The most common type, accounting for 70% of all cases of short stature, is called achondroplasia.[3] Other genetic conditions, kidney disease and problems with metabolism or hormones can also cause short stature. Dwarfism itself is not a disease; however, there is a greater risk of some health problems. With proper medical care, most people with dwarfism have active lives and a normal life expectancy.[4]
Last updated: 5/19/2011


  1. Dwarfism. Genetics Home Reference. May 15, 2011; Accessed 5/19/2011.
  2. Frequently Asked Questions. Little People of America. Accessed 5/19/2011.
  3. Angela L. Duker. Dwarfism. KidsHealth. March 2011; Accessed 5/19/2011.
  4. Dwarfism. MedlinePlus. March 23, 2011; Accessed 5/19/2011.
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Basic Information

  • Genetics Home Reference (GHR) contains information on Dwarfism. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.