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Glossary

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  • Abdomen
    The stomach or belly area situated between the chest and the pelvis
  • Acromegaly
    A hormonal or endocrine disorder that results from too much growth hormone in the body. It is characterized by heavy or prominent facial features, and enlarged hands and feet, among other symptoms and signs.
  • Adenoma
    A benign (not cancerous) tumour of glandular tissue. Glandular means of or relating to a gland.
  • Adrenal glands
    Glands that are found just above each kidney. When these glands are stimulated by the pituitary gland (via adrenocorticotropic hormone), they produce hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone.
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone
    A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the adrenalglands. Abbreviated ACTH.
  • Agonist
    A substance that simulates the action of another substance.
  • Anesthetist
    A specialist healthcare professional who administers anesthetic and pain medications. 
  • Antagonist
    A substance that opposes the action of another substance.
  • Antidiuretic hormone
    A hormone that is stored and released from the pituitary gland that regulates water excretion by the kidney to maintain the correct body fluid and composition. Also calledADH or vasopressin.
  • Apnea
    Cessation (stopping) of breathing, especially during sleep.
  • Arteries
    The major blood vessels in the body that carry blood from the heart to all parts of the body.
  • Atherosclerosis
    A disease of the large blood vessels (arteries). Characterized by fats from the blood being deposited in the walls of the arteries to form areas known as plaques. These plaques can grow and block the arteries, which prevents blood from flowing freely through and can lead to heart attacks or(...)
  • Benign
    Not cancerous.
  • BMI
    Body mass index. A measure of whether someone is of normal, overweight or underweight. Based on a person’s height in metres and weight in kilograms. Often used, but a less reliable measure in people with acromegaly than in those without acromegaly.
  • Cardiologist
    A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the heart and blood vessels (the cardiovascular system).
  • Cardiomyopathy
    Heart (cardio) muscle (myo) disease (pathy).
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
    A tingling or pain in the fingers caused by excess fluid retention in the “tissue tunnel” of the wrist that causes pressure on the median nerve.
  • Cholesterol
    A type of fat that is found in the blood. High levels of cholesterol in the blood are linked to heart disease.
  • Chronic
    Persisting over a long period of time.
  • Colon
    The large bowel or large intestine.
  • Cortisol
    A hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex. Among its many important actions, it is required for normal breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It also helps maintain blood pressure and cardiovascular function and helps regulate the immune system’s inflammatory responses. In addition,(...)
  • CT or CAT scan
    A type of X-ray of the inside of the body. CT stands for computerized tomography. The test may also be called a CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan. The scan displays detailed pictures of the body’s internal organs on a computer screen. These pictures are cross-sections (slices) of the body.
  • Debulking
    Removing as much of a tumour as possible during surgery.
  • Dentist
    A healthcare professional who treats diseases of the teeth and gums and advises on oral hygiene.
  • Diabetes mellitus
    A disorder caused by too much sugar in the bloodstream. This happens when the body produces or uses less insulin than it needs. Insulin is the hormone required to help the body use sugar to produce energy. If the excess sugar in the blood is not controlled, the sugar is passed into the urine(...)
  • Dopamine agonist
    A compound that copies the action of a natural substance (dopamine) in the brain that helps transmit nerve signals and suppresses the secretion of prolactin (a hormone produced by the normal pituitary gland) and growth hormone in acromegaly.
  • Endocrine
    Relating to glands that secrete hormone or other substances into the bloodstream.
  • Endocrine glands
    Glands that produce and release hormones.
  • Endocrine nurse
    A specialist nurse who treats people with endocrine disorders such as acromegaly and often acts as a bridge between primary care and secondary care.
  • Endocrinologist
    A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions caused by hormonal or endocrine imbalances in the body.
  • Endocrinology
    The study of endocrine glands and the function of hormones.
  • Estrogen
    A hormone produced by the ovaries in women. Estrogen helps regulate the reproductive cycle and prepare the body for pregnancy.
  • Fasting
    Abstaining from eating. Sometimes needed before a blood test to measure your growth hormone levels.
  • Foot specialist
    A healthcare professional, such as a chiropodist or podiatrist, who helps prevent, diagnose and treat foot problems.
  • Gastroenterologist
    A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the gastrointestinal tract (digestive system) – which includes the food pipe (oesophagus), stomach and gut (intestines) – and the liver.
  • Gigantism
    Gigantism occurs when there is excessive growth or height during childhood or young adulthood. It is caused by too much growth hormone in the body.
  • Gland
    A gland is an organ within the body that produces one or more substances (such as hormones) that are released into the bloodstream (i.e., by endocrine glands) or within the body’s cavities or on to the outer surface (i.e., by exocrine glands).
  • GP
    General practitioner. Also called a primary care doctor.
  • Growth hormone
    A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that regulates growth in children and affects protein, sugar and fat breakdown in the body in both children and adults. Excess levels of growth hormone cause gigantism in children and adolescents and acromegaly in adults. Abbreviated to GH.
  • Growth hormone receptor antagonist
    A medicine that prevents growth hormone from exerting its usual effects in the body and that can be used to treat acromegaly.
  • Headache specialist
    A healthcare professional with specific training in the management of headaches.
  • Hormonal
    Relating to hormones.
  • Hormone
    A hormone is a chemical substance or messenger that is produced in a gland, travels in the bloodstream and triggers changes in other parts of the body.
  • Hydrocortisone
    The name for the hormone cortisol when it supplied as a medicine. Sometimes given to people after surgery for acromegaly as a precaution until tests confirm there is normal adrenal gland function.
  • Hypertension
    High blood pressure.
  • Hypopituitarism
    Deficiency of one or more hormones produced by the normal pituitary gland.
  • Hypothalamus
    An area of the brain just above the pituitary gland that regulates the release of hormones from the pituitary gland.
  • Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
    Insulin-like growth factors are naturally occurring hormones produced mainly by the liver, but also by many other tissues, that mediate the typical growth hormone responses on cartilage, bone, muscle and fat tissues. IGF-1 can be measured in the blood and is used as a screening test for(...)
  • Intramuscular injection
    An injection that is given into a muscle.
  • Intravenous
    Within a vein.
  • Macroadenoma
    A benign (not cancerous) tumour that is around 1 cm or larger in size.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    Magnetic resonance imaging. Uses a magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to form a picture that is used to identify normal and diseased tissue. Magnetic resonance tomography or MRT is a less frequently used name for this imaging technique.
  • Microdenoma
    A benign (not cancerous) tumour that is less than 1 cm or more in size.
  • Neurosurgeon
    A specialist surgeon who treats people with conditions affecting the brain and nervous system.
  • Nurse
    A healthcare professional trained to provide general nursing care to patients.
  • Ophthalmologist
    An ophthalmologist is a specialist medical doctor who treats people with eye and vision disorders.
  • Optic chiasm
    The part of the brain where the nerves coming from the eyes (the optic nerves) partially cross. It is situated immediately above the pituitary gland and, therefore, vulnerable to pressure from an enlarging pituitary tumour.
  • Optometrist
    Optometrists are healthcare professionals who specialize in treating eye disorders. They differ from ophthalmologists in their level of training and in what vision problems they can diagnose and treat.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test
    A test that measures the growth hormone and blood sugar response of the body to swallowing a volume of glucose after fasting. Abbreviated to OGTT.
  • Orthodontist
    Orthodontists are specialist dentists who are trained to diagnose and treat facial and dental irregularities.
  • Pain specialist
    A healthcare professional that has specific training in managing patients with pain.
  • Pituitary gland
    An endocrine gland at the base of the brain that plays a central role in the regulation of many hormone-secreting glands.
  • Plasma
    Straw-coloured fluid part of the blood.
  • Primary care
    The first line of medical care that someone receives; for example, the care received from the person’s usual doctor or nurse, or other general (non-specialist) healthcare provider.
  • Prognosis
    A medical prediction about the probable cause and outcome of a disease.
  • Radiologist
    Healthcare professional who specializes in taking images of the inside of someone’s body using radio waves (e.g., with an MRI or CT or CAT scanner).
  • Radiotherapist
    Healthcare professional who specializes in taking images of the inside of someone’s body using radio waves (e.g., with an MRI or CT or CAT scanner).
  • Radiotherapist
    Healthcare professional who specializes in using radiation to treat people.
  • Rheumatologist
    A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the bones and joints.
  • Secondary care
    The care received from a specialist doctor such as an endocrinologist or other specialist healthcare provider.
  • Sleep specialist
    A healthcare professional with specific training in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep-related illnesses, such as sleep apnea.
  • Somatostatin
    A naturally occurring hormone produced by the hypothalamus (a part of the brain). It inhibits the release of hormones and other body chemicals, particularly growth hormone.
  • Somatostatin analogues
    Synthetic (man-made) medicines that are very similar to somatostatin and are used to treat acromegaly.
  • Subcutaneous injection
    An injection that is given just under or beneath the skin.
  • Testosterone
    A hormone produced mainly by the testes (testicles) in men.
  • Thyroid gland
    A gland located at the base of the neck which, when stimulated by a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, produces thyroxine.
  • Thyroxine
    A hormone released by the thyroid gland that regulates the level of energy production (metabolic rate) and is also essential for normal growth in children.
  • Tumour
    A swelling caused by an abnormal group of cells.
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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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