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NORD is very grateful to John D. Carmichael, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, for assistance in the preparation of this report.
Synonyms of Acromegaly
- No synonyms found.
- No subdivisions found.
Acromegaly is a rare, slowly progressive, acquired disorder that affects adults. It occurs when the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone (GH). The pituitary gland is a small gland located near the base of the skull that stores several hormones and releases them into the bloodstream as needed by the body. These hormones regulate many different bodily functions. In most cases, acromegaly is caused by the growth of a benign tumor (adenoma), affecting the pituitary gland. Symptoms of acromegaly include abnormal enlargement in bones of the hands, arms, feet, legs, and head. Enlargement of the bones in the jaws and in the front of the skull are typically the most apparent bony changes. Acromegaly may also cause thickening of the soft tissues of the body, including the heart, lips, and tongue. When the disease affects children prior to the end of puberty, excess growth hormone can lead to accelerated growth and tall stature, known as gigantism. If untreated, acromegaly can potentially cause serious illness and life-threatening complications.
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