GIGANTISM

Size always matters!

WHAT IS GIGANTISM?

Gigantism also called Giantism is a very rare condition that occurs during childhood, in which there is extreme bone, muscle and organ growth. Gigantism is caused by an overproduction of growth hormone (GH) that occurs before a child’s bone growth plates have closed. This results in excessive growth and abnormally tall height between 7 to 9 feet. This disorder is also found in other animals. It can become a genetic disorder if the mutated gene is passed over to the next generation.

CAUSES OF GIGANTISM?

Gigantism is caused by an overproduction of growth hormone (GH) that occurs in childhood before the bone growth plates have closed. Diseases, disorders and conditions that can cause GH overproduction leading to gigantism include:

  • Benign tumors of the pituitary gland, which press on the pituitary gland and cause excessive GH production. This is the most common cause of gigantism.

  • Carney complex (rare gene mutation that causes a high risk of certain tumors including pituitary adenoma)

  • McCune-Albright syndrome (syndrome caused by a gene mutation)

  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (inherited disorder that causes tumors to form in endocrine glands and makes them hyperactive)

  • Neurofibromatosis (genetic disorder causing tumor growth)

SYMPTOMS

The child will grow in height, as well as in the muscles and organs.Children with Gigantism are very tall for their age and may also have the following conditions:


  • Unusually large jaw, prominent forehead, and thick facial features.
  • Delayed Puberty.
  • Excessive sweat production.

  • Headaches.

  • Irregular menstrual periods in teens.

  • Production of breast milk.

  • Double vision, problems with peripheral vision.

  • Weakness and tingling in the arms and legs due to enlarging tissues compressing nerves.
  • Enlarged hands, fingers, toes, head or tongue.


TREATMENT

Gigantism is mainly treated through controlling the GH( growth hormone) release or blocking the effect of growth hormone.Treatment of Gigantism mainly involves medicines, surgery and radiation therapy


MEDICINES: Dopamine drugs such as Cabergoline and Mesylate are normally used to lower release of growth hormones. These are, however, less effective than medicines like Pegvisomant or somatostatin analogs (Lanreotide or Octreotide). Pegvisomant obstructs the side effects of growth hormone release.


SURGERY: Surgery for treatment of Gigantism is done in cases where tests reveal the presence of a Pituitary tumor. The aim of operation is to remove the tumor and reduce release of growth hormones.


RADIATION THERAPY:Radiation therapy is successful in making growth hormone levels normal. However, this method gives rise to various side effects like obesity, emotional alterations and learning disabilities in children. Moreover, it takes anywhere from five to ten years for the effects to show up. It also results in reduced levels of other pituitary hormones. This is the reason why it is kept as a last resort if all other ways of treatment fail.


COMPLICATIONS:

  • Delayed puberty
  • Difficulty functioning in everyday life due to large size and unusual features
  • Diminished vision or total vision loss
  • Embarrassment , isolation, difficulties with relationships and other social problems
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Severe chronic head aches
  • Sleep apnea- difficulties in breathing while sleeping


- ADITYA, DHRUVIN, RASHI & YASH