Acromegaly can occur in women even anyone of any age. Treatment, as well as a diagnosis for the disease, can be reviewed from the symptoms caused. Unnatural growth hormone caused by Acromegaly can be seen from the before and after pictures. Learn more about Acromegaly: ( What is Acromegaly) Diagnosis, Symptoms, and causes.
What is Acromegaly?
Acromegaly is a rare hormonal condition that results from an excess amount of growth hormone in the body. Extra amounts of this hormone can cause the overgrowth of bones and soft tissues.
Children with an Acroromegaly condition can grow at abnormal heights. They may also have excessive bone structure. Acromegaly affects the arms and legs most.
Increased production of growth hormone is generally caused by benign tumors in the pituitary gland. Not only that, this increase in hormones can be caused by tumors in other organs of the body, such as the lungs or pancreas, but it is rare.
Although it can attack any age, acromegaly usually occurs in people aged 30-50 years. If it occurs in children, excess growth hormone does not cause acromegaly but gigantism.
How common is the condition of acromegaly?
Acromegaly is a rare disease. But the disease is more common in middle-aged adults and occurs in both men and women.
What causes Acromegaly?
Acromegaly generally occurs due to the high production of growth hormones. In adulthood, the increase in these hormones is usually caused by the presence of growing tumors. Two types of tumors can increase GH production, namely:
Most cases of acromegaly show the presence of tumors in the pituitary gland that can increase GH production. The pituitary gland is located at the bottom of the brain and nerves to produce a variety of hormones important to the body, one of which is growth hormone.
GH triggers liver organs to produce insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) which serves as a growth stimulant for bones and body tissues. Excessive GH levels affect IGF-I production, triggering abnormal growth in organs and muscle and bone tissues.
Other tumors in the body such as the brain, pancreas and lungs can increase GH production. In some other cases, the tumor produces growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH), or hormone that releases growth hormone, resulting in increased GH production.
In addition to tumors, GH can also increase due to disorders in the hypothalamus so it cannot control the cells that produce GH. The hypothalamus is a part of the brain that also produces some hormones that are important to the body.
What are the signs and symptoms of people who have acromegaly?
Not all acromegalic conditions show significant symptoms and signs. But it will be more pronounced as you get older. The symptoms and signs will also be different for each sufferer.
- Legs and hands enlarged
- Facial structure changes
- The size of the tongue, nose, and enlarged lips
- There is a stretch between the teeth
- Oily and rough skin
- Snoring tightly during sleep
- Chest cavity becomes wide (barrel chest)
- Hoarseness and heaviness (due to widening of the vocal cords and sinuses)
- Enlarged heart
Symptoms of acromegaly:
- Excessive sweating, body odor
- Weakened muscles
- Joint pain and limited mobility
- Visual impairment
- Difficulty sleeping
- Menstrual cycle disorders in women
- Erectile Dysfunction in Men
- Loss of sex drive
How was the condition diagnosed?
In diagnosing acromegaly, the doctor will first examine the patient’s symptoms and medical history. The examination will then be continued with a physical examination. After that, there will be some follow-up checks such as:
This test is performed by measuring levels of Growth Hormone and IGF-I to determine how many hormones are produced.
CT scans and MRIs are commonly used to determine the location and size of tumors in the pituitary gland or enlarged organs. To check the bone density and size, X-rays are also possible.
How to solve Acromegaly?
Based on the cause, the type of acromegaly treatment chosen is determined. Treatment is focused on reducing the severity of symptoms, regulating excess growth hormone levels, and addressing disorders in the pituitary gland.
Three treatment options are available to doctors for treating acromegaly:
The following medications can be used for supporting treatment after surgery, or if surgery cannot be performed:
The drug serves to suppress the production of GH and IGH-I. Bromocriptine is an example of such a drug.
Analogs of somatostatin
Drugs such as octreotide are used to control the production and flow of growth hormones, as well as shrink the size of tumors.
Growth hormone antagonists
This drug serves to block the effects of growth hormones on body tissues. One example of a growth hormone antagonist drug is pegvisomant.
Surgery is generally recommended to remove tumors from the pituitary that suppress nerves and trigger excess GH production. The surgery uses endoscopic techniques that enter through the nose or upper lip to remove the tumor.
Radiotherapy is generally recommended if the tumor cannot be lifted completely with surgical procedures and medications. This therapy serves to destroy the remaining tumor cells and suppress growth hormone levels slowly.
What is the purpose of the treatment of Acromegaly?
The purpose of treatment of Acromegaly is to:
- Bringing Growth Hormone production levels back to normal
- Relieves pressure around growing pituitary tumors
- Maintains normal pituitary function
- Treating hormone deficiencies and improving symptoms of acromegaly
Complications of Acromegaly
Untreated acromegaly can cause complications, such as:
- Ship tunnel syndrome (carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Sleep apnea can cause the respiratory tract to close
- Osteoarthritis or arthritis
- Miscarriage in pregnant women
- Heart disease, especially cardiomyopathy
- Thyroid disease
- Hypo pituitary
- Growth of polyps in the colon
- Growth of benign tumors in the uterus
- Emphasis on the spinal cord
When should I see a doctor?
Acromegaly disease is a disease that must be treated quickly and appropriately. Therefore, you should contact your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Swollen and large limbs, weak muscles, or muscle paralysis.
- There are parts of the lips, nose, tongue that begin to grow enlarged and swell more than usual
- Your normal teeth have a greater distance between their roots than yours.
- Impaired vision, excessive headaches, nerve pain, and chest pain.
If you have any of these symptoms, consult a doctor as soon as possible. Each person’s body is different. To treat any health problem, consult a doctor.
Are there lifestyle or home remedies you can make to get rid of acromegaly?
Here are lifestyle and home remedies that can help you overcome acromegaly:
- Carry out the doctor’s instructions well and cooperate in the therapeutic process. You should contact your doctor if you experience side effects such as nausea, drifting, dizziness, do not stop taking the drug.
- Control regularly (as advised by the doctor). Your doctor will check your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and heart health to see any complications of the disease.
- Symptoms will not disappear quickly. Therapy takes a long time and the wishes of the patient and his loved ones.