Acromegaly is a rare health condition that affects an estimated 6 out of every 100, 000 people every year. The condition is primarily caused by a type of benign growth attached to the pituitary gland, which usually causes an abnormal increase in the production of the body’s growth hormones – and subsequently, increased growth in areas of the body such as the hands and feet.
The condition can be diagnosed at any point during a person’s life including at birth, but is most commonly spotted when in middle age; spontaneous growth and thickening of skin or bones are one of the first symptoms that will manifest with most cases of acromegaly – doctors also look for the presence of any adenomas (a type of tumor) that is usually found on or near the pituitary gland, but can sometimes be found in other parts of the body too.
Here are 8 common causes of acromegaly explained.
1. A Pituitary Adenoma
An adenoma is a non-cancerous type of tumor that’s usually caused by tissue that collects or clumps together and forms a lump; in the majority of cases, they aren’t cancerous – but this doesn’t mean that they can’t present harm to the body. One of the most common causes for developing acromegaly is an adenoma either on or near the pituitary gland, which is the gland in the body which regulates the production of growth hormones.
If you experience symptoms like headaches and blurred vision together with changes in appetite, weight gain or loss and overall growth, then it could be acromegaly.
In cases where acromegaly is caused by an adenoma on the pituitary gland, it’s recommended to have the tumor affecting the gland removed – even when it’s not cancerous. Sometimes this can slow the progression of the disorder, and is generally a minor surgical procedure that can make a massive difference.