Acromegaly is an endocrine disease caused by excessive production of growth hormone, mainly in pituitary adenoma. Occurs after the growth of the body. When acromegaly disproportionately increase the limbs, face, etc., as well as some internal organs.
Symptoms of acromegaly
- Disproportionate growth of the forehead, nose, lips, hands, jaws, feet.
- Impotence, a violation of sexual desire in men.
- Absence of menstruation in women.
- Headaches and pains in the limbs.
- Darker skin, excessive growth of hair on the body.
Causes of acromegaly
At the end of XIX century. The first hypothesis was that the cause of acromegaly may be pituitary disease. At present, this hypothesis is confirmed. Thus, the cause of acromegaly is a benign tumor of the pituitary gland, due to which too much growth hormone (growth hormone) is produced by the pituitary gland. A large amount of this hormone is released in childhood, and after the end of human growth, its concentration decreases. Excessive secretion of growth hormone (STH) in an adult leads to the appearance of acromegaly.
With the removal of a pituitary tumor, the patient can fully recover. During the operation, it is very important to remove only the tumor and keep the anterior pituitary gland. The approach to the pituitary gland during surgery is usually performed through the nasal or oral cavity. However, if the tumor is too large, it is necessary to remove the entire gland. After the operation, a regular check of the concentration of STH in the blood is necessary. With normal concentration of STH and the disappearance of symptoms of the disease (eg, edema or diabetes), the disease usually does not resume. However, if the concentration of hyperthyroid hormone in the blood remains elevated, then during the operation it was not possible to remove the tumor tissue completely. In this case, the patient is treated after surgery with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
You can not do anything with acromegaly alone.
The doctor should be consulted at the first symptoms of this disease: prolonged headaches, general fatigue, pain in the extremities, excessive sweating and sudden deterioration of vision.
In those cases when the symptoms of the disease are obvious, the diagnosis is not difficult. To confirm the diagnosis, a blood test is done to keep the somatotropic hormone in it. In addition, the so-called glucose tolerance test is performed (the fact is that the concentration of growth hormone can also depend on the concentration of glucose in the blood). Sometimes prescribed drugs that stimulate the function of the thyroid gland. When these drugs are used, the concentration of somatotropic hormone in the blood sometimes decreases. In 70% of patients with acromegaly with the use of drugs that stimulate the function of the thyroid gland, this concentration is even higher. In addition, an X-ray of the head is taken to determine changes in the bones of the skull. The presence and location of the tumor is confirmed by a special brain study - nuclear magnetic resonance (with which you can detect even minor changes).
Course of the disease
Acromegaly develops slowly. At first, there are no visible symptoms. With the development of the disease, the following symptoms appear: an increase in the superciliary spirits, zygomatic bones, and lower jaw. There is a proliferation of soft facial tissues (nose, lips, ear conchs), etc. Acromegaly is also accompanied by a high content of glucose in the blood, "wolfish" appetite, intense thirst, impotence in men, amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) in women.