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Understanding your test results

The results of any tests you may have are individual to you and you should always talk to your doctor or other healthcare team member if there is anything that you do not understand or that you would like to be explained further.

Below is a general guide to interpreting the results of some of the blood tests and other assessments that may be used, either to diagnose or to help monitor your condition in the long term.

Treating acromegaly

Read about acromegaly treatment options, including surgery, medication and radiotherapy, and the goals of therapy



Growth hormone and IGF-1

Growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) are measured in micrograms per litre of blood (g/L). IGF-1 may also be measured as nanomoles per litre (nmol/L), which is a different way of expressing its concentration.

What is the difference between acromegaly and gigantism?

It is hard to define, what a “normal” level of growth hormone is, because the hormone is secreted in bursts and does not stay in the blood stream for long. This is why a random growth hormone level cannot be used as the only laboratory value to find out whether a person has acromegaly or not.

An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) will give a better indication of whether a person has an overproduction of growth hormone that is characteristic of active acromegaly.

This is because the normal secretion of growth hormone by the pituitary is suppressed by the presence of large amounts of glucose in the bloodstream.

There are different cut-offs to which growth hormone should be suppressed during the test. The critical cut-off is a growth hormone level higher than 1 μg/L. Ask your healthcare professional to explain the test result to you.

What are normal levels of IGF-1?

IGF-1 levels depend on a person’s age and sex, but also on the test kit (called an assay) the laboratory uses.

Adolescents have the highest levels of IGF-1, peaking around the age of 13 to 15 years. IGF-1 levels then decline and become lower with increasing age.

Usually, the lab will provide the normal range for its test, according to the sex and age of a person, together with the actual IGF-1 test result.

What is biochemical control?

One of the goals of acromegaly treatment is to achieve biochemical control or biochemical normalization.

This is where levels of both growth hormone and IGF-1 are reduced to be within the normal range.

Blood sugar (glucose)

The amount of glucose in your blood may be routinely monitored if you have, or are at risk of developing, diabetes mellitus. This is a common coexisting condition that people with acromegaly may have.

There are three ways of measuring your blood glucose:

Blood pressure

Blood pressure results are given as millimetres of mercury, or mmHg. There are two numbers usually written one on top of the other or with one given before the other. 

In the image example, the top or first number (<120 mmHg) gives a measure of the highest pressure when blood is pumped from the heart out into the bloodstream. This is called the systolic blood pressure.

In the image example, the bottom or second number (<80 mmHg) gives a measure of the pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting between beats. This is called the diastolic blood pressure.

For most young people without any form of illness, the systolic blood pressure should be less than 120 mmHg and the diastolic blood pressure should be less than 80 mmHg.

Hypertension, which is a common comorbidity associated with acromegaly, occurs when these blood pressure values rise to be 140 mmHg or higher and 90 mmHg or higher, respectively.

Body mass index

Your doctor may use your height and weight to calculate your body mass index, or BMI

This is an approximate measure of whether someone is underweight, of normal weight or overweight.

However, because of the type of body changes that can occur in people with acromegaly, the BMI may be a less reliable indicator of their body weight.

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Please always consult a healthcare professional if you require healthcare advice or if you have any specific concerns regarding your acromegaly, its treatment or side effects. The information provided here is not intended to replace professional advice. This website has been developed by Ipsen in collaboration with those living with acromegaly and the healthcare professionals who care for them. Ipsen would like to thank everyone for their valuable insights and stories. All names used on this website are not necessarily real names. Visit www.ipsen.ca for more information about us.


Consultez toujours un professionnel de la santé lorsque vous avez besoin de conseils en matière de soins de santé ou lorsque vous avez des préoccupations particulières concernant l’acromégalie, sa prise en charge ou ses effets secondaires. Les renseignements fournis ici ne doivent pas remplacer les conseils offerts par un professionnel. Ce site Web a été conçu par Ipsen en collaboration avec des personnes atteintes d’acromégalie et de professionnels de la santé qui s’occupent d’elles. Ipsen tient à remercier toutes les personnes qui ont participé à l’élaboration de ce site Web pour de leurs précieux commentaires et leurs témoignages. Les noms utilisés sur ce site Web peuvent être fictifs. Pour en savoir plus à notre sujet, consultez le site www.ipsen.ca

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