What is Acromegaly?

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Acromegaly is excessive growth caused by excessive growth hormone release.


Excessive release of growth hormone is almost always caused by a benign pituitary tumor (adenoma).


In most cases, the excessive release of growth hormone begins at age 30-50 years, long after the end of the bone plate to close. Therefore, bone deformities, not lengthwise. A rough picture of the facial bones, hands and feet swell. Patients need a ring, gloves, shoes and hats greater. These changes happen slowly, so it is usually for many years not recognized by the sufferer.

Body hair growing roughly in line with the skin to thicken and grow dark.

Sebaceous glands and sweat glands in the skin dilate, causing excessive sweating and body odor is pungent.

Overgrowth in the jawbone (mandible) can cause prominent jaw (prognathism). Cartilage to the vocal cords can be thickened so that the sound is deep and throaty. Enlarged tongue and more wrinkled. Thickened ribs causes chest shaped like a barrel.

Joint pain is often found, after several years of degenerative arthritis can be crippling. The heart is usually enlarged and its function is impaired resulting in heart failure.

Sometimes patients feel the disturbance and weakness in the legs nd arms because the enlarged suppress the neural network. The nerves that carry signals from the eye to the brain can also be depressed, resulting in impaired vision, particularly in the field of view of the outside.

Pituitary tumors can also cause severe headaches. Almost all female patients have irregular menstrual cycles. Some female sufferers even produce milk, although not being the duration of breastfeeding (galactorrhea) because of too much growth hormone and prolactin levels. One third of patients become impotent men.

Sometimes the excessive release of growth hormone occurs in childhood, before the end of the cover plate of long bones. Because the bones continue to grow until the end of the closed dishes, then this will cause excessive bone growth and abnormal height (pituitary gigantism). Although the bones grow faster, but it did not happen deformity. Soft tissue swelling around the spinal nerves and some can be enlarged. Delayed puberty and genitals not fully grown.


Diagnosis based on symptoms and confirmed by high levels of growth hormone or IGF-I (insulin-like growth factor I) in the blood. If the results of blood tests are in the border area, then the patient is given a number of sugars to see if growth hormone levels go down. On the patient rather than acromegaly, growth hormone levels will drop after the administration of a number of sugar. In patients with acromegaly, blood sugar levels remain high and growth hormones.

Skull X-rays can show bone thickening, enlargement of the nasal sinuses and enlargement or erosion of the sella tursika (the bony structure surrounding the pituitary). Hand x-rays showed thickening of the bone below the fingers and swelling of tissues around the bone. Many people who have the high blood sugar levels.


To stop or reduce the excessive production of growth hormone, the tumor is removed or destroyed by surgery or radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-powered radiation; therapy is not too traumatic and usually does not affect the formation of other pituitary hormones.

Okreotid injections can help block the formation of growth hormones. Other drugs that also helps is bromocriptine.


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