Acromegaly

Asthma Epilepsy MDD Abdominal Acromegaly Alzheimer ApoE4 Calcium Cinnamon Cushing Diarrhea Eyes Gambling Hospital NASH Plague PRN Prunes Raynaud Schizophrenia Shrimp Steak Striae Tea Thyroid UTI

IGF-1: insulin-like growth factor

Acromegaly results from excess growth hormone. Usually this involves a brain lesion. Athletes using growth hormone injections develop signs of acromegaly. An ancient disease, acromegaly has been studied for over 100 years.

Info:I do research into acromegaly. I was once tested for it but the test was normal.

Symptoms

Note

To begin our research into acromegaly, I checked a medical textbook called Textbook of Oral Pathology. It states that acromegaly occurs most often in men in their thirties. Acromegaly causes characteristic features (page 671).

It is more common in males and occurs most frequently in third decade. Bone overgrowth and thickening of the soft tissue causes a characteristic coarsening of facial features termed acromegaly.

Textbook of Oral PathologyCaution: exclamation mark

Symptoms of acromegaly. In addition to the thickening of facial features—which can be detected most effectively by a computer algorithm—symptoms affect the hands and the feet of the person.

Hand and feet become large, with clubbing of the toes and fingers due to enlargement of the tufts of the terminal phalanges.... The terminal phalanges of the hands and [feet] become large and the ribs also increase in size.

Brain lesion symptoms. Remember that acromegaly is most often caused by a lesion in the brain—most often a pituitary adenoma. The remainder of the symptoms are actually caused by this lesion.

So:Acromegaly itself—the growth hormone excess—does not cause temporal headaches.

Finger clubbing

Finger clubbing: demonstration of digital clubbing

From the above medical textbook, acromegaly is associated with an "enlargement of the tufts of the terminal phalanges." This is called finger clubbing or digital clubbing. Many other medical conditions cause a similar condition.

Note:The most common cause of finger clubbing is pulmonary disease. This includes lung cancer.

And:Digital clubbing is an important clue to the diagnosis of acromegaly—and many other medical conditions.

Finger Clubbing Research

Strength

Biceps muscle: 15-inch arm flexed

Acromegaly is known to cause an increase in lean body mass. This is muscle tissue weight. One study done on mice looked into this change. Mice with excess growth hormone were found to have larger muscles.

But:These larger muscles were not proportionally stronger than the mice with smaller muscles—which did not have excess growth hormone.

Growth hormone (GH) is used by athletes like bodybuilders to increase muscle strength and weight gain. On the other hand, chronic hypersecretion of GH in active acromegaly may result in outwardly hypertrophied but functionally weaker muscles.

Effects of growth hormone on grip strength

Big and weak muscles. The end result of the acromegaly simulated in these mice was big and weak muscle development. And muscle weight did not proportionally increase. The weight gain was lean body mass but not muscle tissue.

This study does not support the use of growth hormone for athletes. It does support the use of growth hormone for bodybuilders who are not concerned with strength—who only want larger muscles.

Diabetes

Strong and healthy: tips

Diabetes is associated with acromegaly—and also the abuse of growth hormone in athletes. One interesting report from Jacksonville, Florida tells of a young bodybuilder who abused anabolic steroid injections.

Also:The man injected growth hormone—a product intended for cows. The man developed diabetes after the abuse of these treatments.

We report a case of a young bodybuilder with no significant past medical history who was diagnosed with... diabetes associated with supraphysiologic self-injections of the bovine growth hormone, trenbolone acetate, combined with testosterone.

New onset diabetes growth hormoneQuestion

It is unclear whether this man's diabetic condition was merely precipitated by the drugs—he was likely to get diabetes already—or if they caused it. Diabetes is common—most cases are not caused by acromegaly or steroid use.

Diabetes Statistics
Diabetes prevalence:

8.3% of the United States population

Skin

Research results

What are the skin changes that occur with acromegaly or excess growth hormone? One study in Brazil determined all the skin changes in 15 people who have acromegaly. The study found skin abnormalities in all patients.

We also observed the occasional presence of melasma, psoriasis, hidradenitis suppurativa, sebaceous hyperplasia, Civatte poikiloderma, xanthelasma and vascular lesions like cherry angiomas and facial telangiectasia....

Dermatologic disorders in acromegaly

Acne. Acromegaly also may cause an increase in acne. This study found less acne than expected among the patients. Acromegaly causes oily skin—and this is expected to result in some acne.

Acne

Acne was evidenced in our cases in a percentage very similar to other studies, although in a prevalence below the expected due to the high frequency of oily skin among the patients.

Cutis verticis gyrata. Some disorders of the skin were not found. These problems are also known to occur in people who have acromegaly. But they do not occur in all cases. They may occur in only a minority of cases of acromegaly.

However, we did not see blue nevi, cutis verticis gyrata, mucocutaneous mixomas or psammomatous melanotic schwannomas.

Cutis verticis gyrata

Cutis verticis gyrata: man with CVG

Cutis verticis gyrata is a condition that affects the scalp. Thick ridges appear on the scalp, usually going from the front to the back, not across from side to side. Cutis verticis gyrata is considered a rare condition.

Also:Acromegaly is one condition of many that cause cutis verticis gyrata. Many cases of acromegaly do not have cutis verticis gyrata.

Cutis Verticis Gyrata: Acromegaly

Computer diagnosis

A fascinating new development in acromegaly diagnosis is from computer science. A person's face often shows signs of acromegaly. A study has found that it can be detected 86% of the time by a computer.

But physicians can only detect acromegaly 26% of the time. Please note that this is an average score. The most adept physician actually detected acromegaly 90% of the time—slightly better than the algorithm.

The accuracy of the computer model was 86%; the average of the 10 physicians was 26%. The worst individual physician, 16%, the best, 90%.

Early diagnosis of acromegaly: computers vs clinicians

Perhaps this study mostly shows that physicians are often bad at detecting acromegaly—not that the computer is particularly good. The best physician did better than the algorithm.

Ancient

Note

Acromegaly is not a new condition. It is ancient. It has existed as long as modern humans have existed. One study in Greece did an examination of a skeleton from the seventh century—1400 years ago.

The skeleton of the unfortunate Greek had clear signs of acromegaly—and also the presence of a brain lesion—a macroadenoma. Remember that acromegaly is often caused by pituitary adenomas.

All anatomical signs of acromegaly were present on this skull. More importantly, enlargement of the sella turcica clearly indicated the development of a macroadenoma, at the origin of the disease.

A case of acromegaly: Greece, 7th century AD

Story

It was a turbulent time in my life. My body had begun to change in small but perceptible ways. And when I visited by primary care physician, Dr. Stone was alarmed. She told me that my heart rate was going too fast.

Also, I had skin symptoms that indicated a possible endocrine problem. I had an urgent appointment with an endocrinologist on the other side of that coastal city. I remember that time, waiting and wonder what might be wrong.

So:At this point the endocrinologist had me do a urine test—for a possible excess of adrenal hormones.

All of my results were normal—and then I had a blood test for IGF-1: insulin-like growth factor. This too was normal. My testosterone was low. It is still uncertain, but the normal level of IGF-1 makes acromegaly much less likely.

Summary

Medical research: microscope

Acromegaly has many signs—it affects every part of the body in some way. Growth hormone abuse carries the same symptoms. Acromegaly affects the size of the fingers and feet. It affects the strength and bulk of the muscles.

And:It affects the rate of diabetes diagnosis. It changes the skin of the body in unusual ways.

Research