What is acromegaly?
Acromegaly is the Greek word for "extremities" and "enlargement." When the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormones, this results in excessive growth -- called acromegaly. The excessive growth occurs first in the hands and feet, as soft tissue begins to swell. Acromegaly affects mostly middle-aged adults. Untreated, the disease can lead to severe illness and death.
What are the symptoms of acromegaly?
Symptoms of acromegaly vary depending on how long the patient has had the disease. The following are the most common symptoms. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently:
The symptoms of acromegaly may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult a physician for diagnosis.How is acromegaly diagnosed?
Treatment for acromegaly:
Treatment of acromegaly depends on the cause of the disease. Ninety percent of acromegaly cases are caused by benign tumors on the pituitary gland. Because the tumor is compressing the pituitary gland, the hormone production can be altered. Some other acromegaly cases are caused by tumors of the pancreas, lungs, or adrenal glands.
The goal of treatment is to restore the pituitary gland to normal function, producing normal levels of growth hormone. Specific treatment for acromegaly will be determined by your physician based on:
Treatment may include removal of the tumor, radiation therapy, and injection
of a growth hormone blocking drug.
Left untreated, acromegaly can lead to diabetes mellitus and hypertension.
The disease also increases a patient's risk for cardiovascular disease and
colon polyps that may lead to cancer.