Acromegaly – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment!

Acromegaly – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment  to reverse this condition that many may be affected by Also, in children the condition is called gigantism. In adults it is called Acromegaly .

Acromegaly ( Greek : akros = extreme or extremities; megalos = large) is a hormonal disorder in which the pituitary gland (or pituitary gland) overproduces growth hormone in childhood and continues to produce it into adulthood, making the bones and other tissues grow beyond normal limits.

In children who are still growing, this excess causes a condition called gigantism, in which a person grows abnormally tall. The population’s lack of knowledge about the disease delays its identification. Diagnosis is often made about 8 to 10 years after the first signs and symptoms appear.

If not treated early and properly, Acromegaly can reduce life expectancy, mainly due to cardiovascular and respiratory complications. Cardiovascular complications are responsible for 60% of deaths in acromegalic patients and respiratory complications, for 25%.

Causes of Acromegaly: In 98% of cases, this production is associated with the presence of benign pituitary tumors. Acromegaly is caused by excessive production of growth hormone by the anterior part of the pituitary, a small gland located at the base of the brain.

Most cases are caused by a benign tumor of this gland, called a pituitary adenoma. The causes of Acromegaly are due to excess growth hormone. But they are also due to the excess of a hormone called IGF-1, which is produced by the liver when stimulated by GH.

Symptoms of Acromegaly: Acromegalic patients “have a mortality rate 2 to 4 times higher than individuals in the general population with the same sex and age, and an earlier diagnosis could prevent the emergence of cardiovascular, respiratory and neoplastic complications, the main responsible for the increase in mortality in acromegaly . Excessive growth hormone leads to Acromegaly, and its main symptoms are:

  • Decreased libido and sexual potency in men;
  • Hoarseness ;
  • Pigmentation spots on the skin;
  • Chin and tongue growth, and greater spacing between teeth;
  • Numbness in the hands, due to carpal tunnel syndrome ;
  • Changes in menstrual cycles in women;
  • “Thicker” voice due to vocal cord thickening;
  • Growth of areas of cartilage, such as the ears and nose;
  • Headache and vision changes;
  • Growth of hands and feet;
  • Joint pain ;
  • Thick and oily skin;
  • Increase in the volume of the tongue.

Less common symptoms of acromegaly include:

  • Polyps in the intestine;
  • Excessive hair growth;
  • Unwanted weight gain.

Treatment of Acromegaly: It is not easy to suppress or reduce excessive growth hormone production; therefore doctors may need to use a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and drug therapy.

Useful links: 

Treatment can be done using bromoergocriptine, octreotide and more recently GH receptor antagonist (pegvisomant). Surgical treatment should also be considered if there is no improvement through drug treatment. After surgery, radiotherapy treatment should be evaluated.

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