With rare disease, everyone is familiar with the concept that early diagnosis typically means better patient outcomes. Such is the case with acromegaly.
According to a recent article in healio, a targeted screening program for potential patients of acromegaly could reduce health complications and decrease financial strain for care of the disease.
Scientists at the division of endocrinology at Hospital de Clínicas, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina write that an acromegaly diagnosis often takes five to 10 years longer because the symptoms mimic those of other diseases and the very tell-tale symptoms come on slowly. Ways to enable early detection of the disease are:
- Test at-risk patients. In patients with early warning signs, doctors should provide free insulin-like growth factor-I measurements
- Ask questions. Implement a survey that evaluates the enlargement of extremities
- Raise awareness. Talk about early signs of acromegaly to primary care physicians and the community at large
- Develop a standard operating procedure. A referral process should be in place for patients suspected of having acromegaly
With targeted screening, unlike mass screening, it is financially feasible to achieve timely diagnosis for better patient outcomes.