Acromegaly

Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder in which the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone. This disorder causes abnormal enlargement of bones and tissues, noticeably in the hands and feet, which occurs gradually over several years.

Enlarged bones in the nose and mouth may cause a large tongue and widely spaced teeth and may lead to sleep apnea. Bone and cartilage growth may lead to arthritis. People with acromegaly can also develop diabetes, high blood pressure, and other problems.

The excess production of growth hormone usually is caused by a tumor of the pituitary gland. Acromegaly is usually treated with medication, surgery, or radiation treatment to the tumor.

Last Updated: August 14, 2008

Author: Caroline Rea, RN, BS, MS

Medical Review: Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine & Matthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology & Metabolism

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