Acromegaly

 

Overview

Overproduction of growth hormones by the pituitary gland that takes place during adulthood, resulting in excessive growth in the bones of the hands, feet, and face. Acromegaly does not impact height in adults; however, the condition can lead to gigantism in children. Slow progression may cause delays in the process of recognizing or diagnosing the disease. However, high levels of growth hormone can be dangerous, possibly leading to various health problems and complications if left untreated.

Common Symptoms

Enlarged hands/feet, changes in face shape (protruding lower jaw/brow bone, enlarged nose, thickened lips, wider spacing between teeth), coarse, thickened, or oily skin, excessive sweating, body odor, skin tags, fatigue, joint/muscle weakness or pain, limited mobility, deeper/huskier voice, severe snorting (from obstructed upper airway), vision issues, headaches, irregularities in menstrual cycles, erectile dysfunction, and a loss of interest in sex.

Coexisting Diseases and Conditions

Hypertension, high cholesterol, cardiomyopathy, osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes mellitus, goiter, hirsutism (excessive hair growth on unexpected areas of the body), galactorrhea (milky nipple discharge unrelated to the normal milk production of breast-feeding), oligomenorrhea (infrequent menstrual periods), colon polyps, sleep apnea, carpal tunnel syndrome, cancerous tumors, spinal cord compression/fractures, vision changes or vision loss, and gigantism (in children).

Risk Factors and Prevalence

In about 95% of cases, the condition is caused by a pituitary gland tumor. Middle-aged individuals are most commonly affected. Some professionals believe that the condition is linked to specific genes becoming defective.

Sources

  1. Article Sources and Footnotes
    1. Acromegaly. (n.d.-a). Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://www.hormone.org/diseases-and-conditions/acromegaly

    2. Acromegaly. (n.d.-b). NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders). Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/acromegaly/

    3. Acromegaly. (2017, October 17). Nhs.Uk. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/acromegaly/

    4. Acromegaly | NIDDK. (n.d.). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/acromegaly

    5. Acromegaly: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.-c). Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000321.htm

    6. Acromegaly—Symptoms and causes. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acromegaly/symptoms-causes/syc-20351222

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