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marilynaliza | healthiswealth

Acromegaly: a disease caused by excess growth hormone

Jul 6th 2014 at 9:40 PM

Growth hormone or GH, as its name suggests, is essential for growth, in addition to involvement in certain metabolic functions. It is produced by the pituitary gland the size of a pea located below the brain, just behind our eyes. When it is excessive GH production in adults develops a disease called acromegaly.
Acromegaly is a rare disease. Annually, six in every million develop the problem. The vast majority of these people are between 40 and 45 years. Since the most common cause of excess GH is a tumor of the pituitary called an adenoma.

The evolution of acromegaly is slow. Some patients take several years to realize that the symptoms are caused by too much GH as the growth of the pituitary tumor.
Consequences of acromegaly
Excess GH will leading to slow and progressive growth of hands, feet and jaw, which get bigger. The patient ends up having to increase the size of the rings and shoes. The features of the face end up changing as are coarser.

The nose is wider, the tongue becomes larger and spaced teeth. Joint pain can appear because there is growth of cartilage that covers the joints. In addition, diseases such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, heart failure and sleep apnea may accompany the symptoms. All this ends up leaving her tired and feeling weak person.

Tumors in the intestine may also appear.
The growth of the pituitary tumor can lead to compression of nerves, causing headache and visual problems.

Furthermore, there may be associated hormone deficiencies, since GH is not the only hormone produced by the pituitary gland. Some tumors also produce prolactin. Prolactin can cause excessive secretion of milk in the breasts and loss of libido.

The diagnosis of acromegaly begins with suspicion. Because the symptoms are slow to progress, the patient often does not realize the disease, or even realize, but postpones appointment with the doctor.

After a clinical evaluation, the endocrinologist forwards the patient for blood tests and if confirmed the diagnosis for an MRI of the pituitary gland. Treatment will depend on factors such as tumor size and patient's condition and can be done through surgery or drugs .

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