The Facts About Acromegaly
Acromegaly is a medical condition which is caused by the excessive release of Human Growth Hormone by the pituitary, or by a tumor. The pituitary gland is a very small gland that rests just behind the eyes underneath the brain. The pituitary gland is often referred to as the Master Gland, because of the various functions that the pituitary gland controls, including reproductive function, metabolism, and growth.
What Causes Acromegaly?
The vast majority of patients with Acromegaly experience the condition as a result of a benign tumor attached to the pituitary gland, which imitates the activity of the Somatotrophs which are responsible for the release of Natural Growth Hormone. Excess HGH production over the course of a long period of time causes the body to grow abnormally. It causes the bones and cartilage in the feet, hands, and face to grow abnormally long and thick. Pituitary tumors that cause acromegaly can also lead to migraines because of the increased pressure in the brain, or pressure on the optic nerve.
How Do Hormones Contribute to Acromegaly?
Acromegaly effects the production and activity of three particular hormones that are very important, and all related to the somatotrophs. These are the hormones which are primarily affected by acromegaly:
Human Growth Hormone - Normally, the human body produces HGH throughout the day, in short bursts known as pulses. The hormone is primarily released during deep sleep and during intense physical activity. When the body produces too much HGH, it impacts the growth of organs and systems all throughout the body, and can impact physical appearance.
Insulin-like Growth Factor-One - The release of this hormone is directly influenced by the release of Human Growth Hormone. HGH circulates through the body, and much of it is processed by the liver into IGF-1. IGF-1 remains active more constantly than Human Growth Hormone, and many symptoms of Acromegaly are caused by a simultaneous rise in these two hormones.
Somatostatins - These hormones play an important role in Growth Hormone and IGF-1 regulation. Under normal circumstances, the human body recognizes the influx of HGH and IGF-1 and the brain releases somatostatins in response to mitigate the release of HGH by the pituitary. Somatostatin Therapy plays an important role in the treatment of Acromegaly.
What are the Symptoms of Acromegaly?
Acromegaly is a complex disorder which affects both health and appearance. Many people don't realize that they are suffering from Acromegaly for many years, because the effects onset slowly, and can often be difficult to notice until the symptoms are already problematic. Often, acromegaly symptoms are written off simply as aging by the patient, and there are many conditions which can imitate some of the symptoms of the condition.
Acromegaly often doesn't become clearly noticeable for many years. It is important to understand that although there are many signs and symptoms, most patients only experience a small number of symptoms. Below are the symptoms that are associated with Acromegaly:
Vision Changes due to Tumor Growth
Increased Size of Internal Organs
Increased size of Feet, Hands, and Jaw
Joint Swelling and Pain
Acne, Increased Oil Production, Thicker Skin, and other Skin Issues
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
How is Acromegaly Diagnosed?
There are a number of tests that can effectively diagnose and keep track of Acromegaly. The most effective blood test for Acromegaly is Growth Hormone Analysis. Normally, HGH Levels spike and remain in the blood stream for only a brief period of time, but in the case of Acromegaly, Growth Hormone Levels remain excessively high, or reach abnormally high spikes..
Natural HGH Secretions are dependent upon a number of different variables, including when the test is taken, age, and genetics, as well as the last time that you ate. The following are the main means by which Growth Hormone Levels are Tested:
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test - The easiest way to analyze Growth Hormone Levels through a single test is for the patient to fast for a single night and provide blood after drinking a specialized solution of glucose concentrate.
IGF-1 Testing - One can also test for Acromegaly by testing IGF-1, which is released directly as a response to Growth Hormone Secretion. IGF-1 is a byproduct of Acromegaly, and it is exceedingly rare that IGF-1 Levels do not increase to abnormally high levels as a result of Acromegaly. IGF-1 Levels can also be easily tested, because they don't spike like HGH Levels.
Acromegaly Imaging Tests for Tumor Identification
Once the case for Acromegaly has been established, the physician will generally recommend imaging scans in order to identify the tumor. This can be completed using a CT Scan or an MRI. These tests provide a high-resolution image of the brain which can be monitored for tumors or other abnormalities. These Imaging Scans are outpatient procedures that do not require any patient preparation.
Health Tests Performed After Acromegaly Diagnosis
After Acromegaly has been diagnosed via HGH/IGF-1 Levels and a visual confirmation on the tumor, there are other tests that will be necessary to assess the health of the patient. Patients will usually undergo vision testing, chest X-Ray, and ECG to monitor the extent to which Acromegaly has affected the health. None of these tests require a stay at a hospital, and none of these tests even necessarily require a trip to the hospital, though they may be performed at one.
The technicians and specialists that perform these tests will forward the results directly to your primary care physician, who will explain the results in detail and use all of the information available to inform you of your current condition and what steps can be taken to improve your health.
Why Is It Important to Control and Treat Acromegaly
Until the tumor is surgically or medically removed, the condition is chronic, but proper treatment can cancel out the health modulating effects of the tumor. Through proper treatment, you can improve your health significantly and significantly reduce the risks associated with the condition.
Most patients begin treatment almost immediately after they have received diagnosis, and your healthcare provider can take steps to control the various factors at play with regard to Acromegaly, including controlling IGF-1 Levels, HGH Levels, treating the symptoms of the disorder, and treating the tumor itself.
Medical Conditions Associated with Acromegaly
Part of effectively treating Acromegaly is being aware of the increased risk of a number of different disorders and treating them accordingly. These conditions include:
Take Control of Your Acromegaly Treatment to Maximize Health Outcomes
It's vitally important to maintain awareness of your Growth Hormone and Insulin-Like Growth Factor-One Levels in order to effectively treat your condition. Your physician will provide you with somatostatins and other medical treatments designed to treat your hyperpituitarism as well as the medical conditions related to the disorder.
Every day that you go untreated, your health becomes that much more at risk. If you get treatment quickly enough, you can even reverse or at least mitigate some of the symptoms, including Hypertension, Sleep Apnea, Fatigue, Joint Pain, Sweating, Cartilage Swelling, and Headache.
Acromegaly Treatment Options
The most effective way to treat Acromegaly is by taking steps to get rid of the tumor. There are also treatments that can reduce the activity of the tumor until you can get access to treatment that will eliminate it.
Surgery for Acromegaly - The most direct way to treat a Pituitary Somatotroph Tumor is through surgery. Because the pituitary is located beneath the brain, it is often possible to remove the tumor with minimal risk, and in doing so, return IGF-1 and Growth Hormone Levels to normal, as well as eliminate Intracranial Hypertension.
This can be achieved through a method known as transsphenoidal surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon enters the brain cavity through the upper lip or through the nose and removes the tumor without having to open the skull.
Acromegaly and Human Growth Hormone
Acromegaly is a Pituitary Condition
Even though HGH Abuse can lead to symptoms that are normally associated with Acromegaly, it is important to point out that Acromegaly is a specific medical disorder which is caused by a tumor on the pituitary gland, and although long term abuse of Human Growth Hormone can lead to symptoms similar to Acromegaly, the two conditions are unique to one another.
Can HGH Injection Therapy lead to Acromegaly?
No. The goal of Human Growth Hormone Injections is to restore optimal, youthful HGH and IGF-1 Levels in the blood stream, not to introduce more of the hormones than the body is capable of handling in a healthy way. Acromegaly-like symptoms are the result of a long-term flood of Human Growth Hormone, and cannot be triggered by Restorative Doses of HGH.
HGH Abuse and Overdose Does Not Lead to Acromegaly Symptoms for a Long Period of Time
Also, like the condition of Acromegaly itself, it can take years of excess HGH and IGF-1 Levels before it becomes physically apparent that the patient is suffering from such a condition, whether it is from the disease of Acromegaly or the decision to abuse Bio-Identical HGH.
If a patient does begin to show Acromegaly-like symptoms, such as joint stiffness, carpal tunnel syndrome, or increased soft tissue production, there is still time to mitigate or prevent long-term damage to physiological health by suspending Injectable Growth Hormone Abuse.
Famous People with Acromegaly
Today, Acromegaly is recognized more quickly than it was in the past, and treated more promptly, but over the last fifty years there have been a number of celebrities that are known for having Acomegaly, the most famous of which is Andre the Giant. Andre the Giant was 7 foot 4 inches and weighed as much as 520 pounds. He first reached celebrity status as a star of the World Wrestling Federation, and later had a notable acting career, starring in films such as The Princess Bride and Conan the Destroyer.
Although he was largely seen as a beloved character, he dealt with an immense amount of pain from his condition which led him to alcoholism. In spite of his propensity for drinking and his wrestling persona, he was widely regarded as an incredibly kind and gentle person.
Other Celebrities with Acromegaly:
WWE star Big Show, also known as Paul Randall Wight, Junior
UFC Fighter Antonio Silva
Richard Kiel, most famously known for his role as Jaws for the James Bond Franchise
Carel Struycken, who starred as Lurch in the Adams Family films