Dwarfism occurs when an individual is short in stature due to a medical condition or genetic disorder.
In general, dwarfism is defined as an adult whose height is less than 4 feet and 10 inches (147 centimeters). The average height of an adult with dwarfism is about 4 feet (122 cm).
Many different conditions can cause this disorder, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, is generally divided into two categories:
Disproportionate dwarfism: Occurs when there is an imbalance in the size of the body. Some parts of the body are small, while others are average-sized or larger. This form of dwarfism can be caused by disorders that prevent bone development.
Proportionate dwarfism: This is person with a small body whose limbs share the same degree of smallness, appearing symmetrical to someone with an average height. In general, congenital or childhood diseases are what limit the growth and development of someone with this condition.
The conditions that cause short stature are not hereditary. Dwarfism is considered to be a normal variation of normal bone development.