Acromegaly is a rare disorder caused by an excess of growth hormone (GH). GH controls the growth of soft tissue and bone. Too much GH results in bones and tissues that increase in size.
Young children are still growing. Excess GH can cause a similar health problem called gigantism. This causes dramatic growth in children.
Symptoms usually start slowly over time.
In children, the bones grow longer and cause soft tissue swelling. If not treated, children can grow to a height of 7 to 8 feet.
Problems in adults may be:
Abnormally large growth and deformity of the:
- Hands—rings no longer fit
- Feet—need a bigger size shoe
- Face—bulging of brow and lower jaw
- Jaw—teeth do not line up correctly when the mouth is closed
Skin changes, such as:
- Thickened, oily, and sometimes darkened skin
- Severe acne
- Excess sweating and unpleasant body order
- A deep voice
- Problems sleeping
- Swelling in the neck
- Fatigue and weakness in the legs and arms
- Joint pain, especially in the jaw
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Abnormal production of breast milk
- In men—problems maintaining an erection
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases http://www.niddk.nih.gov
Pituitary Network Association http://www.pituitary.org
Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism http://www.endo-metab.ca
Health Canada https://www.canada.ca
Acromegaly. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acromegaly. Accessed October 29, 2020.
Katznelson L, Atkinson JL, et al; American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists medical guidelines for clinical practice for the diagnosis and treatment of acromegaly - 2011 update. Endocr Pract. 2011 Jul-Aug;17 Suppl 4:1-44.