Getting a Diagnosis continued...
To tell for sure if you have acromegaly, your doctor will do blood tests to see if your growth hormone levels are high.
Your growth hormone levels can change from minute to minute or day to day. So you'll probably get several blood tests.
Your doctor will do other tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, to learn more about the size of the tumor and where it is, or to check on how it has affected your body.
Questions for Your Doctor
When you find out you have acromegaly, you've probably got a lot of questions. You may want to start by asking your doctor:
- What is acromegaly?
- What is causing my acromegaly?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- How will treatment change my symptoms?
- What will success look like?
- What are the side effects?
- How many other people with acromegaly have you treated?
- Am I likely to get this again?
Your doctor will work with you to come up with the best treatment plan, taking into account your age, health, and how far along your condition is.
There are three ways to treat acromegaly:
Surgery is often the first treatment for people with large tumors affecting vital areas, and it works well for most people. The surgeon will remove the tumor from the base of the brain. To get to it, they'll make a small cut in your nose or the inside of your upper lip. In some cases, your doctor may have you take medicine before the surgery to shrink the tumor.
After the surgery, your symptoms may start to get better after only a few days. Your doctor may recommend taking one of these medicines after surgery to help control or cure the disease and bring growth hormone levels back to normal:
Those drugs either lower the level of growth hormone in your blood or block the effects it has on your body.
Radiation helps if you have parts of a tumor left after surgery, or if you need more help reducing growth hormone levels after taking medicine. It can help stop the tumor from growing and your body from making too much growth hormone.