Failure to Thrive

Understanding growth and weight gain/loss related symptoms and features

Symptoms may affect multiple parts of the body. Understanding which part of the body a symptom affects, can help us to better understand the potential underlying causes of a symptom, including a rare disease or genetic syndrome.

Symptoms that affect the growth and or weight gain/loss of an individual may also affect the ability of their body to function properly. This might affect their movement, their brain development and the other organs of their body including the heart.

Growth charts help to track a child’s physical development, including weight and height, and flag any issues or concerns. An issue with under or overgrowth may be the result of an underlying medical condition or may trigger a secondary medical problem. In some cases, a physical grown problem may be due to environmental factors, including under or overfeeding.

Symptoms relating to physical growth may be many and wide-ranging. They can include a walking delay, issues with speech and language including late talking, trouble socializing with others or with showing emotion.

What is failure to thrive (poor weight gain)?

It is defined as when an infant or child fails to grow physically, and their growth measurements are substantially below what they should be for their age and gender.

Generally, failure to thrive will be diagnosed when a child’s growth measurements fall below the 3rd percentile, or when their growth progress drops two percentiles, for example from the 75th percentile to the 25th.

Failure to thrive may be due to any number of different reasons, health conditions or genetic disease.

What should I do next?

In some instances failure to thrive may be one of the features of a rare disease or genetic syndrome. In this case fast, targeted genetic analysis can give you a more accurate diagnosis.

FDNA™ Health can help you with the diagnostic journey.

Learn about child developmental delays: Causes, Symptoms, and Therapies.
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"Our road to diagnose the cause for our child's developmental delays was a 5-year journey that I can only describe as trying to take a road trip with no map. Now we have hope."


Paula and Bobby
Parents of Lillie

What is FDNA Health?

With the largest global database and a leading decision-support tool using AI, FDNA™ Health enables patients and their families to better understand symptoms and conditions with the goal of shortening the time to diagnosis.

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Learn here about symptoms and conditions and contact your clinician.