November 1st is Acromegaly Awareness Day!
Let’s do our part by getting a deep dive into acromegaly and the resources available for the acromegaly community!
What is Acromegaly?
Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder characterized by significant, abnormal growth, caused by an excess amount of growth hormone, or GH. GH is produced by the pituitary gland, specifically from noncancerous tumors on the pituitary, called adenomas.
Acromegaly is not to be confused with gigantism; Acromegaly and gigantism are similar conditions, but gigantism occurs in children specifically, while acromegaly most often develops in adults who are middle-aged.
If acromegaly goes untreated, the outcome may be serious illness and death.
What are the Symptoms of Acromegaly?
Many people with acromegaly show abnormal growth in their appendages—the hands and feet grow bigger and appear disproportionate to the rest of the body. Initially, patients may find their rings or shoes fit more snug.
As the disease progresses, patients will notice other distinct features, including an enlarged nasal bone and a protruding brow and lower jaw.
Further indications of acromegaly are: thick, course, oily skin that’s prone to excessive sweating, enlarged facial features, like the nose, lips, tongue, and vocal cords, and joint aches. Organs within the body may also enlarge.
What Resources Exist for the Acromegaly Community?
The Pituitary Network Association (PNA) is an international non-profit organization for patients with pituitary tumors and disorders, their families, loved ones, and the physicians and health care providers who treat them.
PNA was founded in 1992 by a group of acromegalic patients in order to communicate and share their experiences and concerns. PNA has rapidly grown to become the world’s largest and fastest growing patient advocacy organization devoted to the treatment and cure of pituitary disorders.
The Pituitary Society
The Pituitary Society is an organization dedicated to furthering the understanding of diseases of the pituitary gland. Membership is comprised of researchers and clinicians from all over the world.
The Society sponsors educational conferences highlighting new advances in research and clinical care. It honors outstanding contributions to research and formulates clinical practice guidelines for medical providers.
A major focus of the Pituitary Society is providing information to the public about pituitary diseases and disorders. Their website offers informative and easy to understand articles about how the pituitary gland functions, specific pituitary diseases, and the various treatments available.