Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that develops when your pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone during adulthood. When this happens, your bones increase in size, including those of your hands, feet and face. Acromegaly usually affects middle-aged adults.
In children who are still growing, too much growth hormone can cause a condition called gigantism. These children have exaggerated bone growth and an abnormal increase in height.
Because acromegaly is uncommon and physical changes occur gradually, the condition often isn't recognized immediately: sometimes not for years. If not treated promptly, acromegaly can lead to serious illness and even become life-threatening. However, available treatments for acromegaly can reduce your risk of complications and significantly improve your symptoms, including the enlargement of your features.
Aug. 18, 2017
- AskMayoExpert. Acromegaly and gigantism. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Melmed S. Causes and clinical manifestations of acromegaly. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 3, 2015.
- Acromegaly. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/endocrine/acromegaly/Pages/fact-sheet.aspx. Accessed Dec. 3, 2015.
- Papadakis MA, et al., eds. Diseases of the hypothalamus & pituitary gland. In: Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2015. 54th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2015. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Dec. 3, 2015.
- Parlodel (prescribing information). Parsippany, New Jersey: Validus Pharmaceuticals LLC; 2015. http://parlodel.us.com/. Accessed Dec. 4, 2015.
- Cycloset (prescribing information). Tiverton, Rhode Island: VeroScience, LLC; 2015. http://www.veroscience.com/CyclosetFDAapprovedPackageInsert.htm. Accessed Dec. 3, 2015.
- Cabergoline (prescribing information). North Wales, Penn.: Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; 2015. https://www.tevagenerics.com/product/cabergoline-tablets. Accessed Dec. 3, 2015.
- Nippoldt, TB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 23, 2015.