Learn About Acromegaly

What is the definition of Acromegaly?

Acromegaly is a condition in which there is too much growth hormone (GH) in the body.

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What are the alternative names for Acromegaly?

Somatotroph adenoma; Growth hormone excess; Growth hormone secreting pituitary adenoma; Pituitary giant (in childhood)

What are the causes of Acromegaly?

Acromegaly is a rare condition. It is caused when the pituitary gland makes too much growth hormone. The pituitary gland is a small endocrine gland attached to the bottom of the brain. It controls, makes, and releases several hormones, including growth hormone.

Usually, a noncancerous (benign) tumor of the pituitary gland releases too much growth hormone. In rare cases, pituitary tumors can be inherited.

In children, too much GH causes gigantism rather than acromegaly.

What are the symptoms of Acromegaly?

Symptoms of acromegaly may include any of the following:

  • Body odor
  • Blood in the stool
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Decreased muscle strength (weakness)
  • Decreased peripheral vision
  • Dental problems, gaps between the teeth
  • Easy fatigue
  • Enlarged tongue
  • Excessive height (when excess GH production begins in childhood)
  • Excessive sweating
  • Headache
  • Heart enlargement, which can cause fainting
  • Hoarseness
  • Jaw pain
  • Joint pain, limited joint movement, swelling of the bony areas around a joint
  • Large bones of the face, large jaw and tongue, widely spaced teeth
  • Large feet (change in shoe size), large hands (change in ring or glove size)
  • Large glands in the skin (sebaceous glands) causing oily skin, thickening of the skin, skin tags (growths)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Widened fingers or toes, with swelling, redness, and pain

Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:

  • Colon polyps
  • Excess hair growth in females (hirsutism)
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Thyroid enlargement
  • Weight gain
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What are the current treatments for Acromegaly?

Surgery to remove the pituitary tumor that is causing this condition often corrects the abnormal GH. Sometimes, the tumor is too large to be removed completely and acromegaly is not cured. In this case, medicines and radiation (radiotherapy) may be used to treat acromegaly.

Some people with tumors that are too complicated to remove by surgery are treated with medicines instead of surgery. These medicines may block the production of GH from the pituitary gland or prevent the action of GH in other parts of the body.

After treatment, you will need to see your provider regularly to make sure that the pituitary gland is working normally and that acromegaly does not come back. Yearly evaluations are recommended.

Who are the top Acromegaly Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
20
conditions
Endocrinology

OHSU

OHSU Primary Care Clinic At South Waterfront

3303 Sw Bond Ave 
Portland, OR 97239

Maria Fleseriu is an Endocrinologist in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Fleseriu has been practicing medicine for over 29 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Acromegaly. She is also highly rated in 20 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Acromegaly, Hypertrichosis-Acromegaloid Facial Appearance Syndrome, Acromegaloid Facial Appearance Syndrome, and Pituitary Tumor. She is licensed to treat patients in Oregon. Dr. Fleseriu is currently accepting new patients.

Elite
Highly rated in
10
conditions
Endocrinology

Cedars-Sinai Health System

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

8700 Beverly Blvd 
West Hollywood, CA 90048

Shlomo Melmed is an Endocrinologist in West Hollywood, California. Dr. Melmed has been practicing medicine for over 52 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Acromegaly. He is also highly rated in 10 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Acromegaly, Hypertrichosis-Acromegaloid Facial Appearance Syndrome, Acromegaloid Facial Appearance Syndrome, and Pituitary Tumor. He is licensed to treat patients in California. Dr. Melmed is currently accepting new patients.

 
 
 
 
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Elite
Highly rated in
17
conditions

Division Of Endocrinology

Leiden, ZH, NL 2333Z

Nienke Biermasz is in Leiden, Netherlands. Biermasz is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Acromegaly. They are also highly rated in 17 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Acromegaly, Hypertrichosis-Acromegaloid Facial Appearance Syndrome, Acromegaloid Facial Appearance Syndrome, and Pituitary Tumor.

What are the support groups for Acromegaly?

More information and support for people with acromegaly and their families can be found at:

  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases -- www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/acromegaly
  • National Organization for Rare Disorders -- rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/acromegaly/
What is the outlook (prognosis) for Acromegaly?

Pituitary surgery is successful in most people, depending on the size of the tumor and the experience of the neurosurgeon with pituitary tumors.

Without treatment, the symptoms will get worse. Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease may result.

When should I contact a medical professional for Acromegaly?

Call your provider if:

  • You have symptoms of acromegaly
  • Your symptoms do not improve with treatment
How do I prevent Acromegaly?

Acromegaly cannot be prevented. Early treatment may prevent the disease from getting worse and help to avoid complications.

Endocrine glands
What are the latest Acromegaly Clinical Trials?
Micromegaly and Discrepancy Between Growth Hormone and IGF1 at the Diagnosis and Follow-up of Acromegalic Patients : What About Their Consequences ?
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Long Term Outcome Study in Patients With Pituitary Disorders
What are the Latest Advances for Acromegaly?
Oral Octreotide: A Review of Recent Clinical Trials and Practical Recommendations for Its Use in the Treatment of Patients With Acromegaly.
Approach to the Patient With Treatment-resistant Acromegaly.
Tired of the same old research?
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Gamma knife radiosurgery in pituitary adenomas. A single-center experience.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: May 13, 2021
Published By: Brent Wisse, MD, Board Certified in Metabolism/Endocrinology, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Endocrine diseases. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 24.

Katznelson L, Laws ER Jr, Melmed S, et al. Acromegaly: an endocrine society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014;99(11):3933-3951. PMID: 25356808 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25356808/.

Klein I, Biondi B. Endocrine disorders and cardiovascular disease. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 92.

Melmed S. Acromegaly. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 12.