BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuAcromegalySomatotroph adenoma; Growth hormone excess; Growth hormone secreting pituitary adenoma; Pituitary giant (in childhood)Acromegaly is a condition in which there is too much growth hormone (GH) in the body. Causes Acromegaly is a rare condition. It is caused when the pituitary gland makes too much growth hormone. The pituitary gland is a small endocrine gland attached to the bottom of the brain. It controls, makes, and releases several hormones, including growth hormone.Endocrine glandEndocrine glands release (secrete) hormones into the bloodstream. The endocrine glands include:AdrenalHypothalamusIslets of Langerhans in the pancrea...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Usually, a noncancerous (benign) tumor of the pituitary gland releases too much growth hormone. In rare cases, pituitary tumors can be inherited.In children, too much GH causes gigantism rather than acromegaly.GigantismGigantism is abnormal growth due to an excess of growth hormone (GH) during childhood.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Symptoms Symptoms of acromegaly may include any of the following:Body odor Blood in the stool Carpal tunnel syndrome Carpal tunnel syndromeCarpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which there is excessive pressure on the median nerve. This is the nerve in the wrist that allows feeling a...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Decreased muscle strength (weakness) WeaknessWeakness is reduced strength in one or more muscles.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Decreased peripheral vision Dental problems, gaps between the teeth Easy fatigue FatigueFatigue is a feeling of weariness, tiredness, or lack of energy.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Enlarged tongue Excessive height (when excess GH production begins in childhood) Excessive sweating Headache Heart enlargement, which can cause fainting Hoarseness HoarsenessHoarseness refers to a difficulty making sounds when trying to speak. Vocal sounds may be weak, breathy, scratchy, or husky, and the pitch or qualit...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Jaw pain Joint pain, limited joint movement, swelling of the bony areas around a joint Joint painJoint pain can affect one or more joints.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Large bones of the face, large jaw and tongue, widely spaced teeth Large feet (change in shoe size), large hands (change in ring or glove size) Large glands in the skin (sebaceous glands) causing oily skin, thickening of the skin, skin tags (growths) Sleep apnea Sleep apneaObstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a problem in which your breathing pauses during sleep. This occurs because of narrowed or blocked airways.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Widened fingers or toes, with swelling, redness, and pain Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:Colon polyps Colon polypsA colorectal polyp is a growth on the lining of the colon or rectum.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Excess hair growth in females (hirsutism) HirsutismMost of the time, women have fine hair above their lips and on their chin, chest, abdomen, or back. The growth of coarse dark hair in these areas (m...Read Article Now Book Mark Article High blood pressure Type 2 diabetes Thyroid enlargement Weight gain 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 the diagnosis of acromegaly and check for complications:Blood glucose Blood glucoseA blood sugar test measures the amount of a sugar called glucose in a sample of your blood. Glucose is a major source of energy for most cells of the...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Growth hormone Growth hormoneThe growth hormone test measures the amount of growth hormone in the blood. The pituitary gland makes growth hormone, which causes a child to grow. ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) Prolactin ProlactinProlactin is a hormone released by the pituitary gland. The prolactin test measures the amount of prolactin in the blood.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Spine x-ray Spine x-rayA thoracic spine x-ray is an x-ray of the 12 chest (thoracic) bones (vertebrae) of the spine. The vertebrae are separated by flat pads of cartilage ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article MRI of the brain, including the pituitary gland MRI of the brainA head MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is an imaging test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the brain and surrounding...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Echocardiogram EchocardiogramAn echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to create pictures of the heart. The picture and information it produces is more detailed than a s...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Colonoscopy Sleep studyOther tests may be ordered to check whether the rest of the pituitary gland is working normally.Often a growth hormone suppression test is needed. This involves drawing blood from a vein 4 or 5 times over 2 hours before and after drinking a specific amount of a sugar solution. Glucose and GH are measured in the blood.Growth hormone suppression testThe growth hormone suppression test determines whether growth hormone (GH) production is being suppressed by high blood sugar.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Treatment Surgery to remove the pituitary tumor that is causing this condition often corrects the abnormal GH. Sometimes, the tumor is too large to be removed completely and acromegaly is not cured. In this case, medicines and radiation (radiotherapy) may be used to treat acromegaly.RadiationRadiation therapy uses high-powered x-rays, particles, or radioactive seeds to kill cancer cells.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Some people with tumors that are too complicated to remove by surgery are treated with medicines instead of surgery. These medicines may block the production of GH from the pituitary gland or prevent the action of GH in other parts of the body.After treatment, you will need to see your provider regularly to make sure that the pituitary gland is working normally and that acromegaly does not come back. Yearly evaluations are recommended. Support Groups More information and support for people with acromegaly and their families can be found at:National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases -- www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/acromegaly National Organization for Rare Disorders -- rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/acromegaly/ Outlook (Prognosis) Pituitary surgery is successful in most people, depending on the size of the tumor and the experience of the neurosurgeon with pituitary tumors.TumorA tumor is an abnormal growth of body tissue. Tumors can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign).Read Article Now Book Mark Article 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 provider if: You have symptoms of acromegaly Your symptoms do not improve with treatment Prevention Acromegaly cannot be prevented. Early treatment may prevent the disease from getting worse and help to avoid complications.Open ReferencesReferencesJames WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Endocrine diseases. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 24.Katznelson L, Laws ER Jr, Melmed S, et al. Acromegaly: an endocrine society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014;99(11):3933-3951. PMID: 25356808 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25356808/.Klein I, Biondi B. Endocrine disorders and cardiovascular disease. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 92.Melmed S. Acromegaly. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 12.AllVideoImagesTogEndocrine glands - illustration Endocrine glands release hormones (chemical messengers) into the bloodstream to be transported to various organs and tissues throughout the body. For instance, the pancreas secretes insulin, which allows the body to regulate levels of sugar in the blood. The thyroid gets instructions from the pituitary to secrete hormones which determine the rate of metabolism in the body (the more hormone in the bloodstream, the faster the chemical activity; the less hormone, the slower the activity).Endocrine glandsillustrationEndocrine glands - illustration Endocrine glands release hormones (chemical messengers) into the bloodstream to be transported to various organs and tissues throughout the body. For instance, the pancreas secretes insulin, which allows the body to regulate levels of sugar in the blood. The thyroid gets instructions from the pituitary to secrete hormones which determine the rate of metabolism in the body (the more hormone in the bloodstream, the faster the chemical activity; the less hormone, the slower the activity).Endocrine glandsillustrationRelated Information Chronic(Special Topic)Hypopituitarism(Condition)Diabetes(Condition)Arthritis(Condition)Spinal cord trauma(Condition)Vision problems(Symptoms)High blood pressure(In-Depth)Diabetes - type 1(In-Depth)Osteoarthritis(In-Depth) Review Date: 5/13/2021 Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, Board Certified in Metabolism/Endocrinology, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. 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