Acromegaly : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment


 What is Acromegaly?

Acromegaly may be a rare secretion condition that results from AN excess quantity of hormone (GH) within the body. The additional amount of GH causes excess growth in the bones and soft tissues of the body. Kids with the condition will grow to abnormal heights. they will even have an exaggerated bone structure. acromegalia principally affects the arms, legs, and face.

Medical terms

Acromegaly is a rare hormonal disorder that occurs when the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain, produces excessive amounts of growth hormone (GH). This excess GH leads to the overgrowth of tissues and bones in the body, particularly in the hands, feet, and face. Acromegaly typically develops slowly over many years, and its effects can be subtle at first, making it challenging to diagnose early.

Key features and symptoms of acromegaly include:

  • Growth of Hands and Feet: The bones and tissues in the hands and feet can enlarge, resulting in increased shoe and ring sizes.

  • Facial Changes: Overgrowth of facial bones and tissues can lead to a coarsening of facial features, including a prominent jaw and enlarged nose.

  • Soft Tissue Swelling: Organs and soft tissues, such as the tongue, may also enlarge, which can lead to speech and breathing difficulties.

  • Joint Pain: Enlarged bones and joints can cause joint pain and limit mobility.

  • Skin Changes: The skin may become thickened and more oily.

  • Headaches: Some individuals with acromegaly experience chronic headaches.

  • Vision Problems: As GH excess can affect the optic nerves, visual disturbances and vision loss can occur.

  • Organ Enlargement: In some cases, organs like the heart, liver, and kidneys may enlarge, leading to potential complications.

Acromegaly is usually caused by a benign tumor (adenoma) of the pituitary gland, which produces excess GH. This tumor puts pressure on surrounding tissues and disrupts the normal regulation of GH production. In some rare cases, non-pituitary tumors or conditions outside the pituitary gland can also lead to excess GH production.

Disease Definition Question and Answer American Hospitals Alternative Medicine

Symptoms Acromegaly

and sooner or later it does not fit. you'll additionally find that you have to be compelled to go up a size in shoes if you have got this condition.A common sign of acromegaly is enlarged hands and feet. For example, you may notice that you aren't able to place rings that fit, and your shoe size has progressively increased. Acromegalia may additionally  cause gradual changes in your face' shape, reminiscent of a jutting submaxillary Associate in Nursing brow bone, an enlarged nose, thickened lips, and wider spacing between your teeth. As a result of acromegaly tends to progress slowly, early signs might not be obvious for years. Sometimes, folks notice the physical changes solely by comparing recent photos with newer ones.

Overall, acromegaly signs and symptoms tend to vary from one person to another, and may include any of the following:

  • Enlarged hands and feet

  • Enlarged facial features, including the facial bones, lips, nose and tongue

  • Coarse, oily, thickened skin

  • Excessive sweating and body odor

  • Small outgrowths of skin tissue (skin tags)

  • Fatigue and joint or muscle weakness

  • Pain and limited joint mobility

  • A deepened, husky voice due to enlarged vocal cords and sinuses

  • Severe snoring due to obstruction of the upper airway

  • Vision problems

  • Headaches, which may be persistent or severe

  • Menstrual cycle irregularities in women

  • Erectile dysfunction in men

  • Loss of interest in sex

When to see a doctor

If you've got signs and symptoms related to acromegaly, contact your doctor for an exam. hypertrophy typically develops slowly. Even your relations might not notice the gradual physical changes that occur with this disorder at first. However, early identification is very important in order that you'll be able to begin obtaining correct care. Hypertrophy can result in serious health issues if it's not treated.

Causes Acromegaly

GH is an element of a gaggle of hormones that regulate the expansion and development of the body. folks with hypertrophy have an excessive amount of GH. It accelerates bone growth and organ enlargement. Thanks to this growth stimulation, the bones and organs of individuals with acromegaly are much larger than alternative people’s bones and organs. GH is created within the brain’s pituitary gland. consistent with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), over ninety five percentTrusted supply of people with acromegaly have a tumor touching their pituitary. This tumor is termed an adenoma. Adenomas are common. They have an effect on the 17 percentTrusted supply of people. In most people, these tumors don’t cause excess GH, however after they do may end up in acromegaly.Acromegaly happens once the pituitary produces an excessive amount of hormone (GH) over an extended amount of time. The pituitary gland could be a tiny gland at the bottom of your brain, behind the bridge of your nose. It produces GH and a variety of alternative hormones. GH plays a crucial role in managing your physical growth. once the pituitary gland releases GH into your bloodstream, it triggers your liver to supply a hormone called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) — generally conjointly known as insulin-like growth factor-I, or IGF-I. IGF-1 is what causes your bones and alternative tissues to grow. an excessive amount of GH results in too much IGF-1, which may cause hypertrophy signs, symptoms and complications.

In adults, a tumor is the most common cause of too much GH production:

  • Pituitary tumors. Most hypertrophy cases are caused by a noncancerous (benign) neoplasm (adenoma) of the pituitary gland. The tumor produces excessive amounts of growth hormone, inflicting several of the signs and symptoms of acromegaly. a number of the symptoms of acromegaly, appreciate headaches and impaired vision, are because of the tumor pressing on near  brain tissues. 

  • Non Pituitary tumors. In a few individuals with acromegaly, tumors in different elements of the body, like the lungs or pancreas, cause the disorder. Sometimes, these tumors secrete GH. In other cases, the tumors manufacture a secretion known as growth hormone-releasing hormone (GH-RH), that signals the ductless gland to form a lot of GH. 

Complications Acromegaly

If left untreated, hypertrophy will cause major health problems. Complications might include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

  • High cholesterol

  • Heart problems, particularly enlargement of the heart (cardiomyopathy)

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter)

  • Precancerous growths (polyps) on the lining of your colon

  • Sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Increased risk of cancerous tumors

  • Spinal cord compression or fractures

  • Vision changes or vision loss

Early treatment of hypertrophy will forestall these complications from developing or changing into worse. Untreated acromegaly and its complications can cause premature death.

Diagnosis Acromegaly

Many people with hypertrophy don’t recognize they need the condition as a result of the onset of symptoms is sometimes slow. However, if your doctor suspects you've got acromegaly, they will check you for it. hypertrophy is most frequently diagnosed in old adults, however the symptoms might seem at any age. Your doctor will raise concerns about your medical record and conduct a physical exam. Then he or she may suggest the subsequent steps:

  • IGF-1 measurement. After you've fasted overnight, your doctor can take a blood sample to live the IGF-1 level in your blood. associate degree elevated IGF-1 level suggests acromegaly. 

  • Growth hormone suppression test. This is the most effective technique for confirming Associate in Nursing hypertrophy diagnosis. Throughout this test, your GH blood level is measured each time before and once you drink a reparation of sugar (glucose). In folks that don't have acromegaly, the aldohexose drink generally causes the GH level to fall. however if you've got acromegaly, your GH level can tend to remain high.

  • Imaging. Your doctor could advocate an associate degree imaging test, appreciate resonance imaging (MRI), to assist pinpoint the placement and size of a tumor on your pituitary gland. If no pituitary tumors are seen, your doctor may order alternative imaging tests to see for non pituitary tumors. 

Treatment Acromegaly

Treatment choices embody surgery, medicines, and therapy government agency external link. The goals of treatment are to manage neoplasm size, bring GH and IGF-I levels back to normal, improve symptoms, and manage connected health problems. No single treatment is correct for everyone. Your doctor can suggest a treatment arrangement that works for you, looking at factors that admire your age, tumor size, severity of symptoms, GH and IGF-I levels, and health status. Acromegalia treatment varies by person. Your treatment plan will possibly rely on the situation and size of your tumor, the severity of your symptoms, and your age and overall health. To assist lower your GH and IGF-1 levels, treatment choices usually embody surgery or radiation to get rid of or scale back the dimensions of the neoplasm that's inflicting your symptoms, and drugs to help normalize your internal secretion levels. If you're experiencing health issues as a result of acromegaly, your doctor could suggest extra treatments to help manage your complications.


Doctors will remove most pituitary growths employing a methodology known as transsphenoidal surgery. Throughout this procedure, your physician works through your nose to get rid of the tumor from your pituitary gland. If the tumor inflicting your symptoms isn't situated on your pituitary gland, your doctor can advocate another style of surgery to remove the tumor. In several cases — particularly if your tumor is little — removal of the tumor returns your GH levels to normal. If the tumor was golf stroke pressure on the tissues around your pituitary gland, removing the tumor conjointly helps relieve headaches and vision changes. In some cases, your physician might not be ready to take away the complete tumor. If this is often the case, you will still have elevated GH levels once surgery. Your doctor may advocate another surgery, medications or radiation treatments.


Your doctor could advocate one among the subsequent medications — or a mixture of medicines — to assist your secretion levels come to normal:

  • Drugs that reduce growth hormone production (somatostatin analogues). In the body, a brain internal secretion known as somatostatin works against (inhibits) GH production. The medicine octreotide (Sandostatin) and lanreotide (Somatuline Depot) are semisynthetic (synthetic) versions of somatostatin. Taking one in every of these drugs signals the ductless gland to supply less GH, and will even scale back the scale of a pituitary tumor. Typically, these drugs are injected into the muscles of your buttocks (gluteal muscles) once a month by a healthcare professional. 

  • Drugs to lower hormone levels (dopamine agonists). The oral medications cabergoline and bromocriptine (Parlodel) may facilitate lower levels of GH and IGF-1 in some people. These medicines can also help decrease tumor size. To treat acromegaly, these medications sometimes ought to be taken at high doses, which may increase the danger of facet effects. Common side effects of those drugs embody nausea, vomiting, stuffy nose, tiredness, dizziness, sleep issues and mood changes. 

  • Drug to block the action of GH (growth hormone antagonist). The medication pegvisomant (Somavert) blocks the result of GH on the body' tissues. Pegvisomant is also notably useful for folks that haven't had smart success with alternative treatments. Given as a daily injection, this medication will facilitate lower IGF-1 levels and relieve symptoms, however it doesn't lower GH levels or cut back neoplasm size. 


If your operating surgeon wasn't able to take away the full growth throughout surgery, your doctor may suggest radiation treatment. therapy destroys any lingering tumor cells and slowly reduces GH levels. It should take years for this treatment to perceptibly improve hypertrophy symptoms. Radiation treatment typically lowers levels of different pituitary internal secretions, too — not simply GH. If you receive radiation treatment, you'll probably like regular follow-up visits along with your doctor to make sure that your endocrine is functioning properly, and to examine your hormone levels. This follow-up care may last for the remainder of your life.

Types of radiation therapy include:

  • Conventional radiation therapy. This type of radiotherapy is sometimes given each weekday over an amount of 4 to 6 weeks. you will not see the total result of typical radiation therapy for ten or a lot of years when treatment. 

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery. Stereotactic radiosurgery uses 3D imaging to deliver a high dose of radiation to the tumor cells, whereas limiting the number of radiation to traditional close tissues. It will sometimes be delivered in an exceedingly single dose. This sort of radiation might bring GH levels back to normal inside 5 to ten years. 

Clinical trials

The outlook for people with hypertrophy is typically positive if the condition is discovered within the early stages. Surgery to get rid of pituitary tumors is usually successful. Treatment may facilitate keeping acromegaly from having long effects. managing the symptoms and coverings of acromegaly may be challenging. Many of us find it useful to hitchhike support teams. Check on-line to search out native support groups close to you.

Preparing for your appointment

You'll most likely initially see your general practitioner or a general doctor. However, in some cases, you will be referred at once to a doctor who specializes in secretion disorders (endocrinologist). It's sensible to organize for your appointment. Here's some info to assist you make preparations for your appointment and to understand what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do to prepare for diagnostic tests.

  • Write down the symptoms you're experiencing. Keep track of something inflicting you discomfort or concern, similar to headaches, vision changes or discomfort in your hands, though those things appear unrelated to the explanation that you scheduled  the appointment. 

  • Write down key personal information, including any changes in your sex life or, for women, in your menstrual cycle.

  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking.

  • Take along old photographs that your doctor will use to check against your look today. Your doctor can seemingly have an interest in photos from ten years gone through the present. 

  • Take along a family member or friend, if possible. The person who accompanies you may remember something that you miss or forget.

  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Preparing a listing of queries can assist you create the foremost of it slowly along with your doctor. For acromegaly, some basic inquiries to raise your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?

  • Other than the most likely cause, what are possible causes for my symptoms or condition?

  • What tests do I need?

  • What treatments are available for this condition? Which approach do you recommend?

  • How long will I need treatment before my symptoms improve?

  • With treatment, will I go back to looking and feeling as I did before I developed symptoms of acromegaly?

  • Will I have long-term complications from this condition?

  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage the conditions together?

  • Should I see a specialist?

  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?

  • Are there brochures or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you have.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:

  • What symptoms are you experiencing, and when did they appear?

  • Have you noticed any changes in how you feel or how you look? Has your sex life changed? How are you sleeping? Do you have headaches or joint pain, or has your vision changed? Have you noticed excessive sweating?

  • Does anything seem to improve or worsen your symptoms?

  • How much would you say your features have changed over time? Do you have old pictures I can use for comparison?

  • Do your old shoes and rings still fit? If not, how much has their fit changed over time?

  • Have you had colon cancer screening?

General summary

If left untreated, acromegaly can lead to serious health problems, including cardiovascular issues, diabetes, joint problems, and other complications. The primary treatment for acromegaly is the surgical removal or reduction of the pituitary tumor through a procedure known as transsphenoidal surgery. In some cases, medications and radiation therapy may also be used to manage the condition.

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in managing acromegaly and preventing complications. Individuals who suspect they may have acromegaly due to noticeable changes in their physical appearance or experiencing related symptoms should seek medical evaluation and consultation with an endocrinologist or other specialists.

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