Understanding Acromegaly Medications
What Is Acromegaly?
Acromegaly is a growth disorder caused by excessive production of growth hormone (GH) by the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is a hormone-producing organ at the base of the brain, behind the eyes, and at the middle of the brain between the ears. Children cannot grow to normal height if they do not have enough GH, but too much causes prepubertal children to develop giantism, a condition in which the entire body or any of its parts grow too large. In adults, too much GH causes acromegaly, a disorder in which parts of the body, especially the head, face, hands, and feet, gradually get bigger. GH affects growth by stimulating the formation of other hormones. These hormones are mostly made by the liver in response to GH stimulation and are called somatomedins (somatotropin-mediating hormones or insulinlike growth factors).
What Causes Acromegaly?
In most cases, excess growth hormone (GH) is caused by tumors on the pituitary gland.
What Are the Risks of Acromegaly?
Acromegaly is a severe disease, but it is often difficult to diagnose because it develops slowly over many years. People usually do not know they have acromegaly until they are 40 years old. The rate of acromegaly-caused complications and death is high once they become clinically obvious. The condition can lead to heart disease, vascular disease, stroke, lung disorders, and an increased risk of colon or breast cancers.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/7/2015
Mary L Windle, PharmD
Arthur B Chausmer, MD, PhD, FACP, FACE, FACN, CNS
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
George T Griffing, MD
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