- Condition due to the production of too much growth hormone by the pituitary gland after the end of adolescence. When there is secretion of too much growth hormone before the end of adolescence, gigantism results. People with pituitary gigantism can truly be giants; they can sometimes end up over 7 or 8 feet in height. When too much growth hormone is secreted after adolescence, there cannot be an increase in height but acromegaly ensues. The cardinal manifestations of acromegaly include thickening of the skin, soft tissues, and bones of the hands and feet. These effects are insidious and very slowly progressive. Ultimately they cause considerable disability (aside from the need for larger rings, gloves, and shoes) including hoarseness, sleep apnea, joint pain, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, insulin resistance, visual impairment and severe headaches. Excessive growth hormone secretion may be caused by an adenoma of the pituitary (a tumor of the pituitary) or by other causes. Treatment is usually possible via medication or surgery. Inadequate treatment of pituitary gigantism or acromegaly is associated with increases in deaths from cardiovascular causes, cancer, and other causes.
* * *A disorder marked by progressive enlargement of peripheral parts of the body, especially the head, face, hands, and feet, due to excessive secretion of somatotropin; organomegaly and metabolic disorders occur; diabetes mellitus may develop. SYN: acromegalia. [acro- + G. megas, large]
* * *ac·ro·meg·a·ly .ak-rō-'meg-ə-lē n, pl -lies a disorder that is caused by chronic overproduction of growth hormone by the pituitary gland and is characterized by a gradual and permanent enlargement of the flat bones (as the lower jaw) and of the hands and feet, abdominal organs, nose, lips, and tongue and that develops after ossification is complete compare GIGANTISM
* * *n.increase in size of the hands, feet, and the face due to excessive production of growth hormone (somatotrophin) by a tumour of the anterior pituitary gland. The tumour can be treated with X-rays or surgically removed. See also gigantism.
* * *ac·ro·meg·a·ly (ak″ro-megґə-le) [acro- + -megaly] a chronic disease of adults caused by hypersecretion of growth hormone, characterized by enlargement of many parts of the skeleton, especially distal portions such as the nose, ears, jaws, fingers, and toes. Joint pain resulting from osteoarthrosis occurs, and the joint spaces are increased because of cartilage proliferation. Complications resulting from increased growth hormone secretion include insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, airway obstruction, hypertension, cardiomyopathy, and abnormalities of calcium and bone metabolism. acromegalic adj
Acromegaly, showing characteristic skeletal enlargement.
Medical dictionary. 2011.