Acromegaly

Acromegaly

Acromegaly is a syndrome that results when the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone after epiphyseal plate closure at puberty.

• Acromegaly is a syndrome that results when the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone after epiphyseal plate closure at puberty. A number of disorders may increase the pituitary’s GH output, although most commonly it involves a GH producing tumor called pituitary adenoma, derived from a distinct type of cell (somatotrophs).

• Acromegaly most commonly affects adults in middle age and can result in severe disfigurement, serious complicating conditions, and premature death if unchecked. Because of its insidious pathogenesis and slow progression, the disease is hard to diagnose in the early stages and is frequently missed for many years, until changes in external features, especially of the face, become noticeable.

• The goals of treatment are to reduce GH production to normal levels, to relieve the pressure that the growing pituitary tumor exerts on the surrounding brain areas, to preserve normal pituitary function, and to reverse or ameliorate the symptoms of acromegaly. Currently, treatment options include surgical removal of the tumor, drug therapy, and radiation therapy of the pituitary.

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