Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder characterised by abnormal bone growth, enlarged hands and feet, and thickened, enlarged face.1 Learn more about this rare endocrine disease, its diagnosis and the different treatment options available.
Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that is most often diagnosed late. Some people have symptoms which develop over four to seven years or more before the diagnosis is made.2
The following tests confirm a diagnosis of acromegaly:
- A blood test to measure the level of IGF-1 is measured if acromegaly is suspected.
- Growth hormone suppression test with glucose to artificially increase the level of glucose in the blood (by drinking a sugary drink) and measuring GH levels. In healthy individuals, the increased blood sugar decreases growth hormone levels. However in acromegaly growth the growth hormone level remains high.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to pinpoint the pituitary tumour
- Eye and visual tests can assess if the tumour is pressing on the optic nerve.
- If you are confirmed as having acromegaly, other tests will be needed to see if the tumour is causing a lack or excess of other hormones made by the pituitary gland.
- Other tests may include chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiogram and CT scan.2
2 to 42
New cases of acromegaly per year per million population.
Average age of diagnosis2
1 Acromegaly – NHS Choices [Internet]. Nhs.uk. [cited 18 January 2017]. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/acromegaly/Pages/Introduction.aspx Last accessed 18/07/2017
2 Acromegaly. Growth Hormone disorders Information; Symptoms | Patient [Internet]. Patient. [cited 18 January 2017]. Available from: http://patient.info/health/acromegaly-leaflet Last accessed 18/07/2017
3 What is Acromegaly? [Internet]. Acromegaly.org. [cited 18 January 2017]. Available from: https://acromegaly.org/en/23-what-is-acromegaly. Last accessed 18/07/2017.
4 Symptoms and causes – Acromegaly – Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayoclinic.org. [cited 18 January 2017]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acromegaly/symptoms-causes/dxc-20177626 Last accessed 18/07/2017