Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that develops when the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone during adulthood. The excess growth hormone makes the bones increase in size especially in the face, hands, and feet.
Although both gigantism and acromegaly can cause increased growth, they are not exactly the same. While gigantism refers to abnormally high linear growth due to excessive action of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) when the epiphyseal growth plates are open during childhood, acromegaly occurs after the growth plate cartilage fuses in adulthood and usually affects middle-aged adults.
Signs and symptoms of acromegaly include the following:
- Doughy-feeling skin over the face and extremities
- Thick and hard nails
- Deepening of creases on the forehead and nasolabial folds
- Noticeably large pores
- Thick and edematous eyelids
- Enlargement of the lower lip etc
Complications associated with the acromegaly include: Hypertension, Cardiomyopathy, Osteoarthritis, Diabetes mellitus, Goiter, Sleep apnea, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Spinal cord compression, Vision loss.