What is acromegaly?

Acromegaly is a condition of overproduction of the hormones that control growth. Most often, the overproduction is of the growth hormone. It is secreted by the pituitary gland, a small organ at the base of the brain.

The growth hormone somatropin is responsible for the growth of bones, cartilage, muscles, organs and other tissues.

When the amount of somatropin in the body is too high, tissues grow more than normal. Excessive growth can cause serious illness and even death.

When the oversecretion of the hormone begins after the completion of body growth, i.e. after the age of 25, the most common signs of the disease are the enlargement of the bones of the limbs.

Acromegaly is a rare disease and in most cases the diagnosis is made at the age of 40-45, although it can develop at any age.

What are the symptoms of acromegaly?

Some adenomas – benign formations of the pituitary gland are aggressive and grow quickly. In these cases, the symptoms of acromegaly begin to appear in a short period.

The symptoms can be divided into two groups – local symptoms related to the pressure exerted by the tumor on the surrounding tissues:

  • Constant headache and partial vision loss.
  • Partial vision loss may be in one or both eyes.< /li>
  • A pituitary tumor can damage the gland itself and disrupt its hormonal function. Hormonal imbalance can cause symptoms such as impotence, low libido and changes in the menstrual cycle.

Symptoms due to oversecretion of the growth hormone somatropin:

  • Thickening of the fingers of one or both hands.
  • Increase in the size of the feet, due to swelling.
  • Frequent sweating.
  • Roughening of facial features.
  • Swelling of the tongue. >
  • Skin oiliness and acne.
  • Arthritis
  • Difficulty breathing during of sleep – sleep apnea.
  • Bite change.

What are the causes?

In the hypothalamus, a part of the brain, a hormone is produced that stimulates the secretion of the growth hormone somatotropin and its release into the bloodstream.

The hypothalamus also produces another hormone, somatostatin, which suppresses the release of somatotropin.

Growth hormone in the blood stimulates the liver to secrete another hormone Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which in turn decreases the secretion of a hormone produced by the hypothalamus that stimulates the release of growth hormone in the blood flow.

Disruption of the balance between growth hormone and related hormones causes acromegaly. The levels of these hormones are affected by sleep, stress, exercise and blood sugar.

Treatment of acromegaly

Treatment of acromegaly consists first of all in establishing the cause of its appearance.

Most cases caused by pituitary adenoma require surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.


A combination of these therapies is often needed to bring the disease into remission.

This means that levels of somatotropin and Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) return to normal levels for healthy people.

Surgery is usually applied first. If the operation does not achieve a complete remission of the disease, then chemotherapy is prescribed.

The result of each therapy is determined by measuring the levels of somatotropin and IGF-1 hormone in the bloodstream.

How to protect yourself?

Although there is no specific way to prevent acromegaly, there are some general measures and guidelines that can help in early detection and management of the condition:

  1. Regular medical examinations: Regular visits to an endocrinologist or general practitioner are essential, especially if you have a family history of acromegaly or other related conditions.

  2. Noticing symptoms: Noticing unwanted changes in the appearance of the face, hands, feet or other body parts can help diagnose the problem early.

  3. Laboratory tests: Tests of the levels of growth hormone and other related hormones in the body can help confirm the diagnosis.

  4. X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging: These imaging methods can help visually assess bone and tissue enlargement.

  5. Treatment: If acromegaly is confirmed, your doctor may offer various treatment options. This may include taking drugs that reduce growth hormone levels, or even surgical removal of the pituitary tumor, if one exists.

  6. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition, regular physical activity, and avoiding nicotine and alcohol, can help optimal functioning of organism.

  7. Education and Information: Knowing the risks and ways to manage acromegaly is key to managing the condition. Seek information from reliable medical sources and be active in the treatment plan suggested by your doctor.

In conclusion, although there is no specific way to prevent acromegaly, regular medical examinations, noticing symptoms and following treatment guidelines can help in early detection and effective management of this disease. minimizing possible symptoms and complications.

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