Acromegaly: A Hormonal Disorder


Acromegaly: A Hormonal Disorder

Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that develops when your pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone during adulthood. When this happens, your bones increase in size, including those of your hands, feet and face. Acromegaly usually affects middle-aged adults.
Acromegaly usually affects middle-aged adults, though it can develop at any age. In children who are still growing, too much growth hormone can cause a condition called gigantism. These children have exaggerated bone growth and an abnormal increase in height. Because acromegaly is uncommon and physical changes occur gradually, the condition sometimes takes a long time to recognize. If it's not treated promptly, acromegaly can lead to serious illness and may even become life-threatening. But available treatments can reduce your risk of complications and significantly improve characteristics of the condition, including the enlargement of your features.


A common sign of acromegaly is enlarged hands and feet. People with this disorder often notice that they are not able to put on rings that used to fit and that their shoe size has progressively increased.
Acromegaly may also cause gradual changes in the shape of your face, such as a protruding lower jaw and brow, an enlarged nose, thickened lips, and wider spacing between your teeth. Because acromegaly tends to progress slowly, early signs may not be obvious for years. Sometimes, people notice the condition only by comparing old photographs with newer ones.
Acromegaly may produce the following signs and symptoms, which can vary from one person to another: Enlarged hands and feet, Coarsened, enlarged facial features, Coarse, oily, thickened skin, Excessive sweating and body odor, Small outgrowths of skin tissue (skin tags), Fatigue and muscle weakness, A deepened, husky voice due to enlarged vocal cords and sinuses, Severe snoring due to obstruction of the upper airway and Impaired vision etc.


Acromegaly is caused by the pituitary gland overproducing growth hormone (GH) over time. The pituitary gland, a small gland situated at the base of your brain behind the bridge of your nose, produces a number of hormones. GH plays an important role in managing your physical growth. When GH is secreted into your bloodstream, it triggers your liver to produce a hormone called insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I). In turn, IGF-I stimulates the growth of bones and other tissues.
If your pituitary gland makes too much GH, excessive amounts of IGF-I can result. Too much IGF-I can cause abnormal growth of your soft tissues and skeleton and other signs and symptoms characteristic of acromegaly and gigantism.

Endocrinology and Metabolism: Open Access is a peer reviewed journal which focuses on the publication of current research and developments on the endocrine glands and its secretions with their coordination with metabolism and reproduction. Endocrinology and Metabolism: Open Access aims to function as the global face of endocrinology research. Subject areas: Endocrine glands and hormones, Hormone metabolism, Structure and physiochemical properties, Paediatric Endocrinology, Endocrine pharmacology, Molecular endocrinology, Gastrointestinal and Neuroendocrinology, Comparative Endocrinology, Cardiovascular endocrinology, Reproductive endocrinology, Hormonal receptors Signalling mechanisms, Hormone regulated gene expression, Intracellular steroid and lipid metabolism, Bone and mineral metabolism.

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