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What Is Acromegaly? Symptoms And Causes

Acromegaly can be defined as a hormonal disorder that an individual can have when his or her pituitary glands start producing growth hormones in higher amounts. It may occur during adulthood. The size of your bones increases when you have a high amount of growth hormone.

In childhood, the height of a child increases too much that leads to gigantism. Alteration in the height usually does not occur in adulthood. An increase in the size of bone occurs in the bones of your face, hands, and feet that is called acromegaly.

The condition of acromegaly is rare. Physical changes in the body appear slowly and they make take many years. Sometimes, the condition takes too much time to be diagnosed. If you leave the growth hormone untreated, it can affect other parts of your body too not only bones.

It can cause severe health issues that sometimes prove life-threatening. Treatment decreases the risk of getting complications. It also improves your symptoms.

Symptoms

Enlarged feet and hands are the common sign of acromegaly. For example, you may notice that the rings are not fitted into your fingers like before. Your shoe size can also increase consistently. Acromegaly can lead to progressive changes in the shape of your face.

Its examples are protruding brow bone and lower jaw, wider space between the area of your teeth, thickened lips, an enlarged nose. Acromegaly develops slowly and you may not identify the early signs for years. 

Sometimes people notice alterations physically when they compare their old pictures with the new ones. Overall, symptoms of acromegaly may differ in people. These symptoms are given below.

  • You may have acromegaly if the size of your hand and feet is higher than normal
  • Having enlarged features of the face including nose, facial bones, tongue, and lips are the signs of acromegaly.
  • Thickened, oily, and coarse skin can be a sign of having a higher amount of growth hormone.
  • Body odor and an excessive amount of sweating indicate that you may have growth hormone in greater amount.
  • Small outgrowths around the area of your skin tissue are signs of acromegaly.
  • If you feel fatigued and weak in your muscles or joints, you may have acromegaly.
  • Limited joint mobility and feeling of pain can be signs that indicate acromegaly.
  • If your voice becomes husky and deep due to sinuses and enlarged vocal cards, you may have acromegaly.
  • Vision issues are one of the symptoms of acromegaly. 
  • Severe snoring that occurs due to obstruction in the area of your upper airway is a sign of acromegaly.
  • Severe and persistent headaches are signs of acromegaly.
  • Irregularities of the menstrual cycle in women are one of the symptoms of acromegaly.
  • Erectile dysfunction in males is a sign of acromegaly.
  • Loss of interest in sexual activity can be the symptom of having a high rate of growth hormone.

Contact your doctor for being diagnosed accurately if you suspect that you have the signs and symptoms that indicate you have acromegaly. Usually, the development of acromegaly is slow. If your family members do not notice the slow physical changes in you sometimes.

Early diagnosis is necessary to take proper treatment and care. Acromegaly can cause severe health issues if you leave it untreated. Discuss your symptoms clearly with your doctor in order to be diagnosed correctly and take the right treatment.

Causes

Acromegaly appears when your pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone during a long period of time. It is a small gland present at the base area of your brain behind your nose bridge. It produces many other hormones with growth hormones.

Growth hormone plays a significant role in managing the physical growth of an individual. When the pituitary glands work to release growth hormone in the bloodstream, it works to trigger your liver. The human liver produces a hormone that is called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).

It causes the growth of your bones and other tissues. Too much amount of growth hormone lead to too much IGF-1. It can cause the development of signs of acromegaly. Even it can trigger some complications. Some tumors can cause too much production of growth hormones in adults.

These can be pituitary or nonpituitary tumors. Complications that people can have after having a higher amount of growth hormone include high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.

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