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Acromegaly – Treatment and prevention of acromegaly

Acromegaly is very slow, rare and a chronic disorder that affects the adults. This disorder is mainly featured by the excess secretion of the growth hormone by the pituitary gland.It is characterized by an enlargement in bones of the legs, arms and head. The therapeutic care focuses on reducing the negative effects on the pituitary gland because of the tumour.

Treatment

Although there is no cure for acromegaly, the patient may need more than one type of treatment.They include:

Surgical Therapy

  • Transsphenoidal Surgery is advised by the doctors to remove the pituitary tumour.
  • In this procedure, the surgeon works through the nose to remove the tumour present in the pituitary gland.
  • Removing the tumour may normalize the growth hormone production and reduce the pressure on the surrounding tissues.
  • This a very complicated procedure and it is always better for an experienced surgeon to perform this surgery.

Medications

  • Drugs may be used to reduce the production or block the effects of growth hormone.
  • Drugs like Somatostatin analogues, dopamine agonists and growth hormone antagonist may be advised by the physician.

Radiation Therapy

The doctor may advise radiation therapy when tumour cells remain even after surgery. This therapy destroys tumour cells and slowly reduce growth hormone levels.

The radiation therapy is of two types

Conventional radiation Therapy

In this type the radiation therapy is given daily for a period for four to six weeks.

Stereo-tactic radio surgery

  • It is also known as gamma knife radio surgery.
  • A high dose of radiation to the tumour cells is given in a single dose.
  • After three or four years, the growth hormone levels may come back to the normal levels.
  • This type of radio surgery is present only in the United States.
  • The doctor will not recommend this type of radiation therapy for all people suffering from acromegaly.

The doctor will first determine the type of radiation therapy based on

  • The location and size of the tumour cells.
  • The levels of insulin like growth factor.

After initial treatment, patients suffering from acromegaly needs regular monitoring by the health care professional to make sure that pituitary gland is functioning well. The follow-up care may last for the entire life.

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