Skip to content
Font Size
A
A
A

Acromegaly

What Is Acromegaly?

When you have acromegaly, your body makes too much growth hormone. This makes parts of your body -- like your hands, feet, and face -- grow too much. It also affects your heart and bones.

There are treatments for acromegaly, and every case is different. In most cases, it might be years before you notice symptoms.

Most people who get acromegaly are middle-aged. Children can have problems with too much growth hormone, but that's a different condition called gigantism.

Causes

The most common cause is a benign tumor in your pituitary gland, which is located under your brain. This tumor is not cancer. Because of the tumor, your body makes too much growth hormone.

Once in a while, tumors in the pancreas, liver, or parts of the brain can cause high levels of growth hormone. That leads to higher levels of another hormone, called insulin-like growth hormone, which causes the symptoms you see.

Symptoms

First, your hands and feet usually start to swell. You might notice a change in your ring or shoe size, especially your shoe width.

The features in your face -- your lips, nose, and tongue -- often change, becoming larger, swollen, and broader. Your teeth may begin to space out. Your brow and lower may jaw start to jut out from your face.

Other symptoms may include:

You can sometimes have problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, a higher chance of heart disease, and an enlarged heart.

Getting a Diagnosis

The sooner your acromegaly is diagnosed, the better. When you go to see your doctor, he'll ask you questions like these:

  • Why did you come to see me today?
  • What changes have you noticed?
  • When did you first notice the problem?
  • How are you feeling?
1 | 2 | 3

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

sore foot
3 warning signs.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
What it looks like.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms and treatment.
man behind computer screen
10 possible causes.
Woman with itchy watery eyes
Common triggers.
man screaming
Making sense of symptoms.
human liver
What puts you at risk?
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.