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Articles in pituitary gland disorders: acromegaly hypopituitarism hyperprolactinaemia gigantism empty sella syndrome prolactinoma galactorrhea pituitary tumors

What are the symptoms of acromegaly?

The most common signs of acromegaly are enlarged hands and feet. People with this disorder often notice that they can no longer put on rings that used to fit, and that their shoe size has increased. Acromegaly may also cause you to experience gradual changes in the shape of your face, such as a protruding lower jaw and brow, an enlarged nose, thickened lips, and

wider spacing between your teeth.

The condition is most commonly diagnosed in people in their 20s and 30s, and typically 5 to 10 years after signs first appear. Because the pituitary tumors that can cause overproduction of growth hormone can progress so slowly, the early signs of acromegaly may occur without notice. Sometimes, people notice the condition only by comparing old photographs.

In addition to enlarged hands and feet and facial changes, acromegaly may also produce the following signs and symptoms, which can vary from one person to another:

  • Coarse, oily, thickened skin
  • Excessive sweating and body odor
  • Small outgrowths of skin tissue (skin tags)
  • Thickened ribs causing a barrel chest
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness
  • A deepened, husky voice due to enlarged vocal cords
  • Severe snoring due to obstruction of the upper airway
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Double vision
  • Headaches
  • Enlarged tongue
  • Joint pain
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities in women
  • Erectile dysfunction in men, and loss of libido
  • Enlarged liver, heart, kidneys, spleen and other organs

More information on acromegaly

What is acromegaly? - Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that results when the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone (hGH).
What causes acromegaly? - Acromegaly is caused by prolonged overproduction of GH by the pituitary gland, the overproduction of GH is caused by adenoma.
What are the symptoms of acromegaly? - The most common signs of acromegaly are enlarged hands and feet. Acromegaly may cause gradual changes.
How is acromegaly diagnosed? - Diagnosis of acromegaly begins with a medical history and physical exam. A blood test can measure the level of growth hormone.
What's the treatment for acromegaly? - The goals of treatment for acromegaly are to reduce GH production to normal levels. Surgery is a rapid and effective treatment. 
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Topics in endocrine disorders

Adrenal insufficiency
Addison's disease
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
Conn's syndrome
Cushing's syndrome
Nelson's syndrome
Bartter's syndrome
Adrenocortical carcinoma
Pituitary gland disorders
Thyroid gland disorders

All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005