Acromegaly - a disease in which increasedproduction of growth hormone (somatotropin), the violation occurs proportional skeletal growth and internal organs, also observed metabolic disorder.
In childhood and adolescence with excessive growth activity developed gigantism and acromegaly develops after completion of growth.
The main role in the development of acromegaly playsincrease in growth hormone. The reason for increasing the production of growth hormone is an adenoma (benign tumor) of the pituitary, which has its own activity. Several less common cause can damage the hypothalamus and other parts of the brain (tumor, head injury with concussion, emotional and mental stress of the brain).
The disease develops over the years. During acromegaly emit a series of stages:
- Preakromegaliya - characterized the earliestsigns, revealed quite rare, because the symptoms are not very pronounced. You must repeatedly investigate the level of growth hormone in the blood and brain do computer tomography, to detect the disease.
- Hypertrophic stage - is characterized by a full bouquet of disease manifestations.
- Tumor stage - at this stage to the featuresacromegaly actually joined disorders associated with pituitary tumor compression of adjacent brain areas: increased blood pressure, there are violations of the sensitivity of certain areas of the body.
- Cachectic stage - the stage of exhaustion - is the outcome of the disease.
Acromegaly is shown by the following features
- Patients marked headache, memory loss, impotence (in men), menstrual irregularities (in women), reduced vision.
- Patients with acromegaly acquire distinctiveappearance: increased brow, ears, nose, tongue, cheek bones, lips, hands and feet (an increase mainly in width, which is why patients have to change the sizes of gloves, shoes, rings); lower jaw protrudes forward, increasing the gaps between the teeth; thickened skin, coarse folds on the face; thorax increased in volume.
- At the beginning of the disease there is an increase in muscle strength and health of patients, but the destruction of the muscle occurs later, with the result that there is muscle weakness and pain.
- Develops increasing the supply of cartilage of the joints, which leads to akromegalicheskoy arthropathy (joint destruction).
- If the tumor is too severe, may occur compression of the optic nerve, located close to the pituitary gland, which is why there is blurred vision.
- With further development of the disease may develop signs of a lesion of the internal organs (heart, lungs, kidneys): high blood pressure, an enlarged heart, a violation of his work.
- Half of the people have disorders of glucose exchange, which is why developing diabetes.
- If patients with tumor "touches" the hypothalamus, the patients can occur drowsiness, thirst, increased urine output, sudden rises in temperature.
- Half of the patients have a diffuse or nodular goiter, which is associated with development of a tumor of the pituitary hormones that affect the thyroid gland.
Eventually develops exhaustion (cachexia). In the absence of proper treatment, life expectancy of patients is 3-4 years. With slow development and congenial person can live 10 to 30 years. If acromegaly is treated in a timely manner, its manifestations are expressed not so bright, and the man could easily live for several decades.