Acromegaly symptom and treatment, Gigantism
January 20 2016 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

The last decade has seen two major changes in the management of patients with growth hormone (HGH)-secreting pituitary tumors. Firstly, evidence has revealed a common pattern of increased mortality in patients with elevated GH and/or the target growth factor insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I). Secondly, the availability of highly specific and selective pharmacological agents to lower GH and/or IGF-I levels has greatly facilitated a more aggressive approach to the treatment of patients with persistently active acromegaly.

Acromegaly symptom
These vary depending on how long the patient has had the disease. Common symptoms include swelling of the hands and feet, facial features become coarse as bones grow, body hair becomes coarse as the skin thickens and/or darkens, increased perspiration accompanied with body odor, protruding jaw, enlarged lip, nose, and tongue, joint pain, enlarged heart, and other symptoms

Acromegaly and gigantism
In both conditions of HGH excess, gigantism and acromegaly, the tongue enlarges, body hair becomes more coarse and the skin thickens. Due to enlargement of the sweat glands, more perspiration is produced and body odor could well become quite unpleasant.
   A very serious consequence is heart enlargement. leading to heart failure. Nerves leading from the eyes to the brain may be compressed, causing loss of vision. Many patients report severe headaches.

Acromegaly treatment
The purpose of acromegaly treatment is to reduce growth hormone production to normal levels. Additional reasons to treat this condition is to relieve the pressure that the growing pituitary tumor exerts on the surrounding brain areas, to preserve normal pituitary function, and to reverse or ameliorate the symptoms of acromegaly. Currently, treatment options include surgical removal of the tumor, drug therapy, and radiation therapy of the pituitary gland.

Cancers associated with this condition
The most commonly detected cancer types in individuals with this hormone excess disease include thyroid followed by breast and colon cancers.

Rare benefit
Bratisl Lek Listy. 2014. Acromegaly is protective for periodontal tissue - advanced chronic periodontitis is rare in acromegalics.

Questions
Q. What would happen if someone with acromegaly disease took over the counter hormones DHEA or pregnenolone?
   A. This is an interesting question. I really don't know but my first impression is that it would have negative consequences.

Does a person with acromegaly need to take multivitamin supplements, would they hurt or help?
    I don't know. Multivitamins are not likely to make a major difference in the overall course of the disease.