Acromegaly: Overview

Acromegaly is a rare endocrine disorder that leads to excessive growth. It is caused by a pituitary gland disorder (usually a tumor) that causes an excessive of pituitary growth hormone to be produced. If the excessive growth hormone occurs in a child (who is still growing), the result is a very large individual and it is called Gigantism. Acromegaly in an adult causes the body to start growing again, improperly. The condition has very mild symptoms and is often overlooked. A person may not notice they have an issue until they have feet that need a bigger shoe size! Some common symptoms include facial changes, jaw problems (bite problems), larger feet (tight shoes), larger hands (tight gloves), and sometimes other symptoms such as headache and vision disturbances. Diagnosis is relatively easy with a blood test for excessive growth hormone. Treatment may involve hormone suppressing medications and/or treatment for a pituitary tumor (surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, etc.).

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