What is Acromegaly?

Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that leads to the abnormal growth of hands, feet and and face as shown in the below image This disorder is caused due to the excessive production of the Growth Hormone(GH) produced by the Pituitary gland.


What are the causes Acromegaly?

The most common cause of this disorder is the Growth Hormone, which is produced by the Pituitary gland. Due to the excessive growth of this gland, the surrounding nerve tissues and optic nerves get compressed. This results in the growth of the bone and the enlargement of organs. People suffering from this disease have much larger bones when compared to other people. It is estimated that about 95% of the people affected by this disease have a tumor which affects the pituitary gland.

Pituitary gland

What are the symptoms of Acromegaly?

The symptoms varies from patient to patient. Symptoms tend to develop gradually and the changes may or may not be noticed for years. There are a wide range of symptoms, some of the common symptoms related to Acromegaly are given below:

  • Sleeplessness.
  • Excess fatigue.
  • A hoarse voice.
  • Profuse sweating.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • Abnormal weight gain.
  • Develop odor in the body.
  • Enlargement of jaws or tongue.
  • Develop weakness in the muscles.
  • The painful and the swollen joints.
  • Excessive growth of hair in women.
  • The fingers and the toes are widespread.
  • Development of more spaces between the teeth.
  • Develop tags on the skin, usually of noncancerous growths.
  • The sebaceous glands are enlarged and the skin is thickened.
  • Enlargement of the bones present in the hands, face, and the feet.

How is Acromegaly treated?

At the beginning stage of this disease, the symptoms would be too low. Acromegaly is mostly found in the adults, between the age of 30 to 50, but there are chances of getting the symptoms at any age. Hence, proper treatment would reduce it to some extent. Generally the treatment for this disorder varies with the patient’s age, health, and how far the condition is.There are three ways to treat acromegaly:

  • Surgery: Surgery is the best option recommended for most people with acromegaly, in which the tumor cells are completely removed through the procedure called transsphenoidal surgery.
  • Radiation: Radiation therapy is usually given to destroy the large tumor cells which help in the reduction of growth hormone levels.
  • Medicine: Few medicines are prescribed for:
  1. Treatment for the hormone deficiency
  2. Improving the symptoms of Acromegaly are prescribed.
  3. Reducing the growth hormone production to normal levels.

Complications of Acromegaly

If and so this disease is left untreated, it is sure to cause so many serious health disorders. These complications can be potentially life-threatening. They include:

  • Arthritis,
  • Diabetes,
  • Vision loss,
  • Hypertension,
  • Heart disease,
  • Kidney failure,
  • Hypopituitarism,
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome,
  • Compression of the spinal cord.

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about Acromegaly.

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