ACROMEGALY - Watsons Health
ACROMEGALY - WatsonsHealth

ACROMEGALY

Acromegaly commonly affects middle-aged adults and happens when your pituitary gland produces excessive growth hormone that can result to increased bone size of your hands, feet and face during adulthood.

Excessive growth hormone can cause a disorder called gigantism in children who are still growing where they have exaggerated bone growth and an abnormal increase in height.

This condition can lead to serious illness and can even become life-threatening if not treated quickly but often isn’t recognized instantly because of its rareness and because the physical changes occur steadily. Accessible treatments, on the other hand, can decrease the possibility of complications and can improve enlargement of the features.

The following are Acromegaly’s signs and symptoms, which can vary from one individual to another:

  • Enlarged hands and feet
  • Coarsened, enlarged facial features
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness
  • Coarse, oily, thickened skin
  • A deepened, husky voice due to enlarged vocal cords and sinuses
  • Small skin tissue (skin tags) outgrowths
  • Impaired vision
  • Severe snoring due to obstruction of the upper airway
  • Headaches
  • Pain and limited joint mobility
  • Enlarged tongue
  • Erectile dysfunction in men
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities in women
  • Increased chest size (barrel chest)
  • Enlarged heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, and other organs

To start the diagnostic process, the doctor will take a medical history and conduct a physical exam, and tests which include:

GH and IGF-I measurement. If levels are elevated on your GH and IGF-I, these suggest acromegaly.

Growth hormone suppression test. Blood levels of GH are measured before and after you drink a preparation of sugar (glucose) in this test because normally, glucose ingestion depresses levels of GH and your GH level will tend to stay high if you have acromegaly.

Imaging. To help pinpoint the location and size of a tumor of your pituitary gland, your doctor may recommend that you go through an imaging procedure, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Nonpituitary tumors may seek out if your radiologist sees no tumor on your pituitary gland.

Surgery. Using a method called transsphenoidal surgery, doctors take away pituitary tumors to release associated signs and symptoms and to normalize GH production.

Medications. To lower the production or block the action of GH the following drugs include:

Somatostatin analogues. The drugs octreotide (Sandostatin) and lanreotide (Somatuline Depot) can interfere with the extreme secretion of GH by the pituitary gland, and as a result, can produce quick declines in GH levels.

Growth hormone antagonist. This treatment can normalize IGF-I levels and get rid of symptoms in the vast majority with acromegaly, however, this doesn’t lower GH levels or reduce the tumor size.

Dopamine agonists. The drugs namely cabergoline and bromocriptine (Parlodel) are used as pills and can lower levels of GH and IGF-I in some people. In some individuals, this medications can reduce the tumor size however, for some, while taking these medications, they may develop obsessive behaviors, such as gambling.

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