Doctor's Notes on Acromegaly
Acromegaly is a serious condition that occurs when the body produces abnormally high levels of growth hormones, the main hormone being produced by the pituitary gland. Signs and symptoms occur very slowly over time and in many people, some of the changes include enlargement of jaw and other facial bones, overgrowth of bone and cartilage in the joints causing arthritis, back pain with curvature the spine, swelling of the face, lips and tongue, sleep apnea and thick skin. Other signs and symptoms such as nerve entrapments like carpal tunnel syndrome occur. Body organs such as the heart, thyroid, liver and kidneys can become enlarged. In many individuals, the symptoms and signs develop so slowly that they are not noticed for years or even decades. It can occur in children (termed gigantism); most notable signs and symptoms in children are the abnormal growth of the legs and arms that makes the child unusually tall.Causes of acromegaly are the production of abnormally high amounts of hormones that control growth; in most individuals with acromegaly, the hormone overproduction is due to a benign tumor in the pituitary gland called an adenoma.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.