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What is acromegaly?

Acromegaly is a rare medical condition with slowly developing but eventually distinct clinical symptoms. It develops over a long period of time and is usually caused by having too much growth hormone in the body. Over time, too much growth hormone in the body can produce some characteristic symptoms and signs, such as heavy or prominent facial features, with a prominent jaw line and enlarged hands and feet.

You can learn more about the medical features of this condition in this section.

Diagnosing acromegaly

Find out how acromegaly is diagnosed and the tests that healthcare professionals may use to assess acromegaly symptoms



How is acromegaly defined?

Acromegaly is an infrequently diagnosed but treatable hormonal or endocrine disorder that is due to having too much growth hormone in the body.

Origins of the word acromegaly

“Acro” comes from the Greek word ákros, meaning topmost or highest, and refers to the extremities of the body (such as the hands and feet).

“Megaly” comes from the Greek word for great, meaning enlarged. So acromegaly literally means “large extremities”.

What is the difference between acromegaly and gigantism?

Acromegaly and gigantism are two different conditions. As a general rule, acromegaly occurs in adults and gigantism occurs in children and adolescents.

Both are rare diagnoses and are due to having excess levels of growth hormone in the body.

The main difference between acromegaly and gigantism is that gigantism occurs in childhood when the long bones are still growing in length and are susceptible to the effects of growth hormone and another hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This can make those affected grow very tall, very quickly.

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Learn about acromegaly

Learn about acromegaly, including how excess growth hormone released by a pituitary tumour causes this slowly evolving condition, and the early symptoms and signs of acromegaly.

Find out more about acromegaly

Diagnosing acromegaly

Find out how acromegaly is diagnosed and the tests that healthcare professionals may use to assess acromegaly symptoms

Treating acromegaly

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

Acromegaly FAQs

Read answers to some common questions that patients with acromegaly have asked

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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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