Gigantism

Also Known as Giantism

What is Giantism?

Gigantism is a condition when there is an excessive height growth. The height grows over average, usually between 7 to 9 feet in humans. 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. Gigantism is usually because of tumor on pituitary gland. It is a very rare Disorder.

How is Gigantism Caused?

Gigantism is usually caused when there is a tumor in Pituitary gland. The Tumor causes production of Growth Hormone to increase. This makes the height grow faster then normal speed in childhood till height stops growing at the age of 18-20, resulting into a tall height between 7 to 9 feet.


Symptoms of Gigantism

The following symptoms are showed when a human has Gigantism:


1) Delayed puberty

2) Double vision or difficulty with side (peripheral) vision

3) Weakness

4) Headache

5) Increased sweating

6) Irregular periods (menstruation)

7) Large hands and feet with thick fingers and toes

8) Release of breast milk

9) Thickening of the facial features

10) Big Head and Feet

Treatment

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.