Growth hormone deficiency, commonly referred as GHD, occurs when growth hormone levels are inadequate.
Growth hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland. GHD is classified into three types: congenital, acquired or idiopathic.
Treatment varies with the type of GHD. Hormone replacement medications are the common treatment options.
This is growth hormone deficiency that exist from birth due to structural defects or genetic mutations in the brain
Acquired GHD occurs due to infection, trauma, radiation therapy, or brain tumors.
If GHD is present with unknown reason, it is called idiopathic.
All three types of GHD can be seen in childhood. Children with GHD have retarded growth, delayed secondary growth and short stature.
Lengthening of the bones be delayed, which results in improper growth of the child as per their chronological age.
Adult GHD is a result of tumors in the pituitary gland or trauma to the brain. Idiopathic GHD is also seen in adults.
The symptoms of adult-onset GHD are listed below:
- Reduction in energy levels
- Changes in body composition
- Insulin resistance
- Reduction in muscle strength
- Lipid abnormalities including increased LDL cholesterol
- Impaired cardiac function
These symptoms vary from one individual to another.
Your physician will ask for various tests to review the hormone levels in your body.
He or she will also check for hypopituitarism if you underwent radiation treatment or had a head injury.
These tests will help your doctor find whether your adrenal, thyroid or sex hormones are in low levels.
Stimulation or dynamic testing
These specialized endocrine tests help assess hormone production in your body. You have to take some medications that trigger hormone production to find how your body responds and produces hormones.
Any abnormality or tumor in your pituitary gland can be detected using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
To find out whether a tumor in the pituitary gland has affected your visual fields or eyesight, your doctor will ask for vision tests.
Growth hormone replacement therapy can be helpful for both children and adults. This therapy promotes the normal growth of children, while adults can’t grow taller.
In case of pituitary tumors, treatment will involve surgery or radiation therapy to remove the tumors.