Study: Growth Hormone Levels are Higher in Postmenopausal Acromegaly Patients

Acromegaly is a rare disease that is characterized by excess and abnormal levels of growth hormone (GH). Because of this, medical professionals are very interested in these levels as patients go about their diagnostic and treatment journey. That’s why a team of researchers from Aalborg University Hospital in Denmark investigated the GH levels in adult patients who live with controlled acromegaly.

About the Study

The study, which was led by Dr. Jakob Dal, discovered one major piece of information: female, postmenopausal acromegaly patients live with higher GH levels than their male counterparts. This is despite similar levels of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1). In fact, the researchers discovered that higher GH levels paired with normalized IGF-1 levels were present in female patients across all ages.

Diving deeper into this study, 84 acromegaly patients enrolled altogether, slightly over half (51.2%) of which were female. All of these participants had serum concentrations of GH, free fatty acids, glucose, and insulin measured, alongside a measurement of IGF-1 levels at baseline. Lastly, the participants responded to two questionnaires: the Patient‐Assessed Acromegaly Symptom Questionnaire (PASQ) and the Acromegaly Quality of Life Questionnaire (AcroQoL).

Results include:

  • Significantly higher GH levels in female participants
    • Disease control was actually found to be decreased in females
  • Standard deviation scores in IGF-1 were similar between both sexes
  • Females had higher fasting free fatty acids when compared with males
  • During OGTT, females had higher insulin concentrations
  • Females reported more impairments on the AcroQoL

The information gained in this study is extremely useful when it comes to assessing and treating patients. Doctors will be more knowledgeable in the conditions present in their patients’ situations, therefore allowing for better treatment.

About Acromegaly

As stated before, acromegaly is a rare disease that is characterized by an excess of growth hormone. This causes abnormal growth, meaning symptoms like:

  • Growth in the hands and feet, making them disproportionate to the rest of the body
  • Protrusion of the lower jaw and brow
  • Enlarged nasal bone
  • Enlarged facial features
    • This includes the tongue, nose, lips, and vocal cords
  • Thick, oily, and coarse skin
    • Patients are also prone to sweating
  • Enlarged organs within the body

Heightened levels of GH cause these symptoms, and this hormone is released by benign tumors – called adenomas – that form on the pituitary gland. Because of this, surgery to remove the tumors is often the first option for patients. If this is not an option or is unsuccessful, doctors may utilize GH receptor antagonists (GHRAs), somatostatin analogs (SSAs), and dopamine agonists.

Find the source article at Healio.

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