Acromegaly (gigantism) – is a hormonal disorder characterized by the excessive production of growth hormone (GH) by the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain. The excess GH production typically occurs in adulthood, after the growth plates in the long bones have closed, resulting in an abnormal enlargement of certain body parts, such as the hands, feet, and facial features.
Acromegaly is usually caused by a benign tumor, known as a pituitary adenoma, that grows in the pituitary gland and produces excessive GH. This excess GH can disrupt the normal hormonal balance in the body, leading to various symptoms and complications.
Some common symptoms of acromegaly may include enlargement of the hands, feet, and facial features (such as the jaw, nose, and forehead), coarsening of facial features, thickening of the skin and soft tissues, joint pain and swelling, increased sweating, fatigue, headaches, changes in vision, and other hormonal imbalances.
If left untreated, acromegaly can lead to serious health complications, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, sleep apnea, and other metabolic and hormonal disorders. Treatment options for acromegaly may include surgical removal or radiation of the pituitary tumor causing the excess GH production, medication to lower GH levels, and other supportive measures to manage associated symptoms and complications.
It’s important to note that the diagnosis and management of acromegaly should be done by qualified healthcare professionals, and treatment should be tailored to the individual needs and circumstances of the affected person.