Acromegaly is a condition in which there is too much growth hormone in the body.
Somatotroph adenoma; Growth hormone excess; Pituitary giant (in childhood)
Acromegaly is a rare condition. It is caused when the pituitary gland makes too much growth hormone. The pituitary gland is a pea-sized
Usually a noncancerous (benign) tumor of the pituitary gland causes the gland to release too much growth hormone.
In children, too much growth hormone causes
Symptoms of acromegaly may include any of the following:
- Body odor
Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Decreased muscle strength (
- Decreased peripheral vision
- Excessive height (when excess growth hormone production begins in childhood)
- Excessive sweating
Hoarseness Joint pain, limited joint movement, swelling of the bony areas around a joint
- Large bones of the face
- Large feet (change in shoe size), large hands (change in ring or glove size)
- Large glands in the skin (sebaceous glands)
- Large jaw (prognathism) and tongue (macroglossia)
- Thickening of the skin, skin tags
- Widely spaced teeth
- Widened fingers or toes, with swelling, redness, and pain
Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:
- Excess hair growth in females (
- Type 2 diabetes
- Weight gain (unintentional)
Exams and Tests
The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms.
The following tests may be ordered to confirm diagnosis of acromegaly:
Blood glucose Growth hormone
- High insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) level
Spine x-ray MRI of the brain, including the pituitary gland Echocardiogram Prolactin
Surgery to remove the pituitary tumor that is causing this condition often corrects the abnormal growth hormone. Sometimes the tumor is too large to remove completely. People who do not respond to surgery may have
Medications are used after surgery. Some patients are treated with medicines instead of surgery.
After treatment, you will need to see your health care provider regularly to make sure that the pituitary gland is working normally. Yearly evaluations are recommended.
Pituitary surgery is successful in most patients, depending on the size of the
Without treatment, the symptoms will get worse. Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease may result.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if:
- You have symptoms of acromegaly
- Your symptoms do not improve with treatment
Acromegaly cannot be prevented. Early treatment may prevent complications of the disease from getting worse.