The Main Symptoms of Acromegalywhich we should not ignore. In additionAcromegalyis a hormonal disease that develops when the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone during adulthood. When this happens, your bones increase in size, including those in your hands, feet and face. THEAcromegalyusually affects middle-aged adults. In children who are still growing, too much growth hormone can cause a condition called gigantism. These children have exaggerated bone growth and abnormal height increase. Such asAcromegalyis uncommon and physical changes occur gradually, the condition is not usually recognized immediately: sometimes not for years.
If not treated promptly, theAcromegalycan lead to serious illness and even become a life threat. However, the treatments available for theAcromegalymay reduce your risk of complications and significantly improve your symptoms, including increasing your symptoms.
Causes of Acromegaly:THEAcromegalyis caused by the hormone pituitary hormone over producing growth hormone (GH) over time. The pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain behind the bridge of the nose, produces a series of hormones. GH plays an important role in managing your physical growth.
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When GH is secreted into your bloodstream, it triggers your liver to produce a hormone called insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I). In turn, IGF-I stimulates the growth of bones and other tissues. If your pituitary gland makes too much GH, excessive amounts of IGF-I may result. Too much IGF-I can cause abnormal growth of your soft tissues and skeleton and other signs and symptoms characteristic ofAcromegalyand gigantism. In adults, a tumor is the most common cause of excessive GH production:
- Pituitary tumors.Most cases ofAcromegalyare caused by a non-cancerous (benign) tumor (adenoma) of the pituitary gland. The tumor secretes excessive amounts of growth hormone, causing many of the signs and symptoms ofAcromegaly. Some of the symptoms ofAcromegaly, such as headaches and impaired vision, are due to the tumor mass that presses the nearby brain tissues.
- Non-hospital tumors.In some people withAcromegaly, tumors in other parts of the body, such as the lungs, pancreas, or adrenal glands, cause the disorder. Sometimes these tumors actually secrete GH. In other cases, tumors produce a hormone called growth hormone releasing hormone (GH-RH), which stimulates the pituitary gland to produce more GH.
Symptoms of Acromegaly:One of the most common signs ofAcromegalyis the increase of hands and feet. People with this disorder often realize that they can no longer fit rings that used to fit and that their shoe size has progressively increased. THEAcromegalymay also cause you to experience gradual changes in the shape of your face, such as a jaw and a an enlarged nose, thickened lips, and a wider spacing between the teeth..
Such asAcromegalytends to progress slowly, the early signs may not be easily evident for several years. People sometimes observe the condition only by comparing old photographs. THEAcromegalycan produce the following signs and symptoms, which may vary from person to person:.
- Extended hands and feet
- Coarse and enlarged facial features
- Coarse, oily and thickened skin
- Excessive sweating and body odor
- Minor shrinkage of skin tissue (skin marks)
- Muscle fatigue and weakness
- A deep, husky voice due to vocal cords and enlarged breasts
- Severe snoring due to upper airway obstruction
- Impaired vision
- Constant headaches
- Extended language
- Pain and limited joint mobility
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- Liver, heart, kidneys, spleen and other enlarged organs
- Larger chest size (barrel safe)
When to Contact a Physician:If you have signs and symptoms associated withAcromegaly, contact your doctor for an evaluation. THEAcromegalyusually develops slowly, and even the members of your family may not notice the gradual physical changes that occur with this disorder. Early diagnosis is important, however, so that you can receive proper care. THEAcromegalycan lead to serious complications if left untreated.
Acromegaly Complications:The progression ofAcromegalycan result in major health problems. Complications may include:.
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Cardiovascular disease, in particular enlargement of the heart (cardiomyopathy)
- Diabetes mellitus
- Precancerous growths (polyps) in the lining of your colon
- Sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing stops repeatedly and begins during sleep
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Reduced secretion of other pituitary hormones (hypopituitarism)
- Uterine fibroids, non-uterine benign tumors
- Compression of the spinal cord
- Loss of vision
Early treatment ofAcromegalycan prevent these complications from developing or worsening. If left untreated, theAcromegalyand its complications can lead to premature death.
Diagnosis of Acromegaly:To start the diagnostic process ofAcromegaly, your doctor will have a medical history and perform a physical examination. Then he or she can recommend the following steps:
- Measurement GH and IGF-I.After fasting overnight, your doctor will take a blood sample to measure your GH and IGF-I levels. High levels of these hormonesAcromegaly.
- Growth hormone suppression test.This is the definitive method to verify theAcromegaly. In this test, blood GH levels are measured before and after drinking a sugar (glucose) preparation. Normally, glucose ingestion depresses GH levels. If you haveAcromegaly, your GH level will tend to stay high.
- Image.Your doctor may recommend that you undergo an imaging procedure, such as MRI, to identify the location and size of a pituitary gland tumor. If the radiologists, who usually perform the procedures, do not see any tumor of the gland pituitary tumors, they may look for non-hospital tumors that may be responsible for high levels of of GH.
Treatment of Acromegaly:The treatment ofAcromegalyfocuses on reducing GH production as well as reducing the negative effects of the tumor on the pituitary gland and surrounding tissues. You may need more than one type of treatment..
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Prevention of Acromegaly:THEAcromegalycan not be prevented, however early treatment prevents complications of the disease..
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