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Acromegaly

Making a Diagnosis

In order to make an acromegaly diagnosis, the doctor will ask a number of questions about a person's medical history, including: current symptoms, whether there is a family history of any medical problems, and any medicines the patient is taking. The doctor will also perform a physical exam, looking for any signs of acromegaly, and will order certain tests.
 
Tests used to help diagnose acromegaly and determine the acromegaly causes can include:
 
  • Blood tests to measure GH and/or IGF-1 levels
  • Glucose tolerance test
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan.

 

(Click Diagnosing Acromegaly to read more about diagnosing this disorder.) 

 

How Is It Treated?

The goals of treatment for acromegaly are to:
 
  • Reduce growth hormone (GH) production to normal levels
  • Relieve the pressure that the growing pituitary tumor exerts on the surrounding brain areas to preserve normal pituitary function
  • Reverse or improve the acromegaly symptoms.
     
Current options for acromegaly treatment include:
 
  • Surgical removal of the tumor
  • Drug therapy
  • Radiation therapy of the pituitary.

 

(Click Acromegaly Treatment for a closer look at treatment options.)

 

Acromegaly Versus Gigantism

When growth hormone-secreting tumors occur in childhood, the disease that results is called gigantism rather than acromegaly. Fusion of the growth plates of the long bones occurs after puberty, so development of excessive GH production in adults does not result in increased height. Prolonged exposure to excess GH before fusion of the growth plates, however, causes the increased growth of the long bones and increased height associated with gigantism.
 
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Articles About Acromegaly

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