Acromegaly and Gigantism Symptoms

Acromegaly And Gigantism Symptoms

Acromegaly and gigantism are two closely related conditions that occur when tumors grow on the pituitary gland and cause an increase in production of growth hormone. One condition, acromegaly, is rare and affects adults. The other condition, gigantism, primarily affects children. Because both conditions are caused by the same primary factor, an overproduction of growth hormone, the signs and symptoms are similar. Understanding the symptoms of acromegaly and the signs of gigantism will help patients seek treatment early, before these conditions affect growth, appearance or development.

Symptoms of Acromegaly and Gigantism

Because they are so closely related, acromegaly and gigantism have some similar symptoms. These include:

  • Problems with menstruation
  • Thickening of the skin on the palms and feet
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Vision loss toward the edges of vision
  • Oily skin
  • Acne
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Aches in the joints
  • Excess sweating
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • High blood sugar

In addition to these, both conditions can change the appearance. Enlargement of the hands, feet and facial features is common. An increase in the space between the teeth may also occur.

Symptoms Specific to Acromegaly

Acromegaly affects adults typically between the ages of 30 and 50. This means that some symptoms of acromegaly are unique to the condition and do not affect children. These include:

  • Reduced sex drive
  • Inability to get or maintain an erection
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of acromegaly, talk to your doctor. While these conditions can have a range of causes, you need to determine whether or not acromegaly is the underlying condition.

Signs Specific to Gigantism

Because gigantism affects children and not adults, some symptoms are unique to this condition. For example, children with gigantism may grow to a taller-than-average height. They may also experience delayed puberty. Other signs of gigantism include:

  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Weakness
  • Deafness

If you notice one of these signs or symptoms in your child, talk to your child's doctor. It's important to diagnose gigantism early before the problem affects the child's growth and development.