Acromegaly is a condition that results from excess growth hormone (GH) after the growth plates have closed. The initial symptom is typically enlargement of the hands and feet. There may also be enlargement of the forehead, jaw, and nose. Other symptoms may include joint pain, thicker skin, deepening of the voice, headaches, and problems with vision. Complications of the disease may include type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure.
Acromegaly is typically due to the pituitary gland producing too much growth hormone. In more than 95% of people the excess production is due to a benign tumor, known as a pituitary adenoma. The condition is not inherited from a person’s parents. Rarely acromegally is due to tumors in other parts of the body. Diagnosis is by measuring growth hormone after a person has drank glucose or measuring insulin-like growth factor I in the blood. After diagnosis medical imaging of the pituitary is carried out to look for an adenoma. If excess growth hormone is produced during childhood the result is gigantism.
Treatment option include surgery to remove the tumor, medications, and radiation therapy. Surgery is usually the prefered treatment and is most effective when the tumor is smaller. In those in whom surgery is not effective, medications of the somatostatin analogue or GH receptor antagonist type may be used. The effects of radiation therapy are more gradual than that of surgery or medication. Without treatment those affected live on average 10 years less; however, with treatment life expectancy is typically normal.
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Keywords: Acromegaly, Goliath, Goliath giant, David Goliath, Giant, How tall was Goliath, Height of Goliath, Pituitary
Bible reference(s): 1 Samuel 17:4-10, 1 Samuel 17:23, 1 Samuel 21:9, 1 Samuel 22:10, 2 Samuel 21:16, 2 Samuel 21:18-20, 2 Samuel 21:22, 1 Chronicles 20:4-6, 1 Chronicles 20:8, Judith 16:7, Wisdom of Solomon 14:6, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 16:7, Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 47:4, Baruch 3:26, 1 Maccabees 3:3
Source: This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “Acromegaly,” which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
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