Gigantism and acromegaly are patterns of abnormal growth caused by having too much growth hormone.
In children, too much growth hormone causes gigantism, meaning being gigantic or a giant.
In adults, too much growth hormone causes acromegaly.
In gigantism, children grow to be very tall
In acromegaly, adults don't grow taller but have deformed bones and skull
Other symptoms include weakness, vision problems, and heart problems that can lead to heart failure
Doctors treat gigantism and acromegaly with surgery and medicines to lower growth hormone levels
Gigantism and acromegaly are almost always caused by:
The pituitary gland is a pea-sized bit of tissue at the bottom of your brain. Glands are organs that make and release hormones into your blood. Hormones are chemicals that stimulate other cells or tissues into action. Your pituitary gland makes many different types of hormones, including growth hormone.
The extra growth hormone in your blood causes your bones, muscles, and organs to grow bigger.
Acromegaly is a disease that usually starts between the ages of 30 and 50. Unlike children's bones, adult's bones can't grow longer. Instead, their bones change shape and deform. Symptoms include:
It's usually easy to see when children are growing too much. But in adults, it may take a long time to notice the abnormal bone growth in acromegaly because it happens little by little.
If doctors suspect gigantism or acromegaly, they:
Doctors treat gigantism and acromegaly using a combination of:
After surgery or radiation to treat a pituitary gland tumor, you may need to take hormone supplements to replace the ones the pituitary makes.