Acromegaly - Diagnosis

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Written by Dr. Sangamithra, MBBS | Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team  on Sep 05, 2014
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Acromegaly - Diagnosis

The diagnosis of Acromegaly is confirmed by Growth Hormone Suppression Test. Other tests like Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 levels, X-rays, MRI and CT scan can also be used to detect acromegaly.

The diagnosis of the disease is often delayed due to the slow onset of many of the signs and symptoms. Diagnosis can be established using the following:

Physical examination:

The disease can be diagnosed by comparing serial photos taken over the years to observe physical changes in the patient.

Hormonal:

  • Growth Hormone (GH) and Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-I) measurement in blood: In this test, the patient fasts overnight and gives a blood sample the next day morning to measure the levels of GH and IGF-I. In case of acromegaly, the levels are elevated.
  • Growth Hormone Suppression Test: This is a confirmatory method for verifying acromegaly. The blood levels of GH are measured before and after a drinking 75 gms of glucose (sugar). In normal people there is suppression of growth hormone. GH levels are suppressed below 1 µg/L. Inability to sufficiently suppress serum growth hormone levels after glucose ingestion confirms acromegaly.

Caution:

Remember in a pregnant woman, IGF-1 levels are two to three times higher than normal. Similarly, IGF-1 levels decline in aging people. It also may be abnormally low in patients with poorly-controlled diabetes mellitus.

Radiological:

  • X-rays are taken to detect bone thickening.
  • An MRI scan of the brain, which delineates the pituitary and the hypothalamus and helps in locating the tumor can be done.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scans can also be done to detect tumors. Presence of non-pituitary tumors in the chest, abdomen, or pelvis can be detected by measuring GHRH in the blood and by a CT scan of possible tumor sites.

Acromegaly - Reference:

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Readers may also be interested to read my summary about the latest guidelines for acromegaly. http://doiop.com/AcromegalyGuidelines

Kayla-S-M

I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor in 2005. It was a late stage macroadenoma. I have had surgery, gamma knife radiation and I have had 2 years of sandostatin. I still never feel good. I have lots of fatigue, muscle weakness and I take a lot of medicine. Can anyone give me any good news on this. My email address is triplejent@hotmail.com. I would love to hear from some other acromegaly patients to hear their stories. Mine has been a nightmare. I was sick and not feeling well for quite sometime, fatigue like no other actually exhaustion to where I was nauseated and sometimes vomiting when I got home from work. Finally told my husband that I either had something wrong with my heart or I had cancer. I was having a lot of palpitations and chest pain so I was sent to a cardiologist my first go around and they didn't pick up on it was going to ablate the areas on my heart that were beating irraticaly. I just need to hear someone elses story. Please email me. Thank you. Kayla

hi Kayla, i too had a macroadenoma which was removed in 06 but did not need drugs however i too have profound fatigue and do not feel good at all. I now have bad joints everywhere and have had 3 total knee replacements and have also got Parkinson's disease. My quality of life is doing down the slippery slope. I am under so many specialists but none seem really interested. It is a lonely battle to get well and sometimes i wonder if i ever will but will not give up! good luck. Where do you live? snurff

You can read longer article here http://www.genericlook.com/diseases/Acromegaly/. Hope it will help you...

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