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Acromegaly – Causes and Symptoms of Acromegaly

Acromegaly is a serious metabolic disorder when the body produces too much of growth hormone. The pituitary gland is responsible for the secretion of this hormone. When people suffer from this disorder their bones size is increased, including face, hands and feet and this disorder usually affects the middle-aged. In growing children if the growth hormone is produced too much then it results in a condition called gigantism. Acromegaly is not a common condition and gradually physical changes may occur. If not treated at an early stage can lead to serious illness and even become life threatening.

Causes of Acromegaly

The common causes of Acromegaly :

Pituitary Tumors

  • In most if the cases, this disorder is caused by noncancerous tumour in the pituitary gland.
  • The tumour produces too much of growth hormone.
  • These excessive secretion causes many symptoms of acromegaly.
  • When the tumor presses the nearby brain tissues symptoms like headaches and vision impairment is seen.

Non Pituitary tumors

  • In very few people, tumors in different parts of the body like pancreas, lungs and adrenal glands can cause this disorder.
  • These tumors secrete growth hormone and in some cases the tumors produce growth hormone releasing hormone .
  • This (GH-RH), which forces the pituitary gland to secrete excess of growth hormone.

Symptoms

The most common signs is enlargement of the feet and hands. Acromegaly may exhibit the following signs and symptoms, which can vary from person to person. It includes:

  • Enlarged hands and feet
  • Excessive sweating and body odour
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue
  • Severe snoring
  • Menstrual irregularities in women
  • Increased chest size
  • Coarsened, enlarged facial features
  • Thick and oily skin
  • Small outgrowths of skin tissue
  • Impaired vision
  • Enlarged tongue
  • Headaches
  • Limited joint mobility and pain
  • Enlarged liver, spleen, kidneys and other organs
  • Husky voice due to enlarged vocal cords

Complications

Complications may include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Spinal cord compression
  • Diabetes myelitis
  • Vision loss
  • Uterine fibroid
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Early treatment can prevent complications and if left untreated it can lead to premature death.

When to consult your doctor?

  • If you observe these signs and symptoms, contact your doctor immediately for an evaluation.
  • To receive proper care, early diagnosis is important.
  • Be observant and notice the changes occurring in your body and consult your doctor.
  • Do not delay as this may result in fatal conditions.

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