By: Joanna Garza

What is Acromegaly?

A disorder in adults in which the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone.

Acromegaly can last for years or be lifelong. Also this disorder is usually caused by a noncancerous tumor. Middle-aged adults are most commonly affected.

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What causes Acromegaly?

Acromegaly is caused by the pituitary gland overproducing growth hormone over time. The pituitary, a small gland situated at the base of your brain behind the bridge of your nose, produces a number of hormones.
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What are the Symptoms of Acromegaly?

Acromegaly tends to progress slowly, early signs may not be readily apparent for several years. Sometimes, people notice the condition only by comparing old photographs.

  • Enlarged hands and feet
  • Coarsened, enlarged facial features
  • Coarse, oily, thickened skin
  • Excessive sweating and body odor
  • Small outgrowths of skin tissue (skin tags)
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness
  • A deepened, husky voice due to enlarged vocal cords and sinuses
  • Severe snoring due to obstruction of the upper airway
  • Impaired vision
  • Headaches
  • Enlarged tongue
  • Pain and limited joint mobility
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities in women
  • Erectile dysfunction in men
  • Enlarged liver, heart, kidneys, spleen and other organs
  • Increased chest size (barrel chest)
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Acromegaly can't be cured, but treatment may help. Prompt treatment is needed to avoid serious illness. Drugs can reduce the effects of growth hormone. If needed, surgery and radiation may be used to remove tumor cells.