“Acromegaly is a rare but serious medical condition that occurs when the body has too much growth hormone. This disorder affects the bones and tissues of the body, causing them to grow in an irregular way.”
Halodoc, Jakarta – The pituitary gland in the body is responsible for producing growth hormone or Growth Hormone (GH). However, tumors in the pituitary or other parts of the body produce excess GH when acromegaly occurs.
The pituitary gland is a small pea-sized endocrine gland located at the base of the brain, just below the hypothalamus. This gland releases eight important hormones, including growth hormone.
Growth hormone, and somatotropin, are natural hormones that act on many parts of the body to promote growth during childhood. Once the growth plates (epiphyses) on bones fuse, GH no longer adds height to your body, but your body still needs it.
After body growth is complete, these hormones help maintain the normal structure and metabolism of bones, cartilage, and organs, including helping to keep blood glucose (sugar) levels within a healthy range.
Diagnosis of Acromegaly
If the body has too much growth hormone as an adult, it can cause irregularly shaped bones, increased organ size, increased blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), and many other symptoms.
In order to find out about this, of course the doctor needs to know what symptoms you are experiencing and carry out several supporting medical examinations. These tests include:
- Measures levels of the hormones GH and IGF-1. After the sufferer fasts overnight, the doctor will take a blood sample to measure IGF-1 levels. An elevated IGF-1 level is indicative of acromegaly.
- Growth hormone suppressor test. This is the best method for confirming the diagnosis of acromegaly. During this test, your doctor will measure your blood GH levels before and after you drink sugar (glucose). Usually, sugar drinks will cause a decrease in GH levels in someone who doesn’t have acromegaly. However, things are different when you have acromegaly, your GH levels will tend to stay high.
- Imaging examination. The doctor will recommend imaging tests, such as an MRI to help determine the location and size of the tumor in the pituitary gland. If no pituitary tumor is seen, the doctor may order other imaging tests to look for nonpituitary tumors.
The difference with Gigantism
Acromegaly and gigantism are conditions that occur due to excess growth hormone (GH). The difference lies in the conditions that affect it. Adults develop acromegaly, whereas children develop gigantism.
In children, gigantism occurs when the body experiences excess GH before the growth plates on the bones fuse or before puberty ends. This will make the child grow very tall. Gigantism is a rarer disorder than acromegaly. In addition, some pediatricians refer to gigantism as pediatric acromegaly.
Once the growth plates have fused, excess GH will cause acromegaly. Related to this, you won’t get taller, but excess growth hormone affects the shape of your bones and the size of your organs as well as other health factors.
Of course, you can check your growth hormone levels by using the Medical Appointment Service Halodoc. Check directly with downloads application Halodoc through the App store and Play Store.
Healthline. Accessed 2023. Acromegaly.
Mayo Clinic. Accessed 2023. Acromegaly.
Cleveland Clinic. Accessed 2023. Acromegaly.