Conditions associated with acromegaly
Acromegaly can be associated with several other medical conditions, which are briefly mentioned here.
Please talk to your healthcare provider if you would like to know more about any of these medical conditions and how they may affect you.
People with acromegaly can develop hypertension and heart disease, particularly clogged arteries (atherosclerosis) and enlargement of the muscle of the heart (cardiomyopathy), which in turn can lead to heart failure.
Persistent tissue swelling in the nasal passages caused by excess growth hormone in the body can block the upper airway and result in severe snoring.
If there are also frequent, but brief, interruptions in breathing during sleep, this is a condition called sleep apnea. This may not be something you are aware of until your partner complains that you are keeping them awake at night.
Sleep apnea is a long-term condition that is linked to other health problems such as heart disease, so it is important to talk to a doctor if you have trouble sleeping at night, do not feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning or feel tired throughout the day.
Losing weight if you are overweight or obese can often help with sleep apnea. If you smoke, stopping smoking can also help, as can reducing how much alcohol you drink. Not taking sedative medicines or sleeping tablets may also help improve sleep apnea.
People with acromegaly can develop type 2 diabetes mellitus, a condition that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, level is consistently too high. This type of diabetes usually develops over time and the typical symptoms are fatigue, excessive thirst and hunger.
Losing weight if overweight or obese, through diet and exercise, can help manage the condition.
Oral medications and insulin may be required if diet and exercise alone do not bring blood sugar levels down to within normal limits.
The pituitary gland sits close to the nerves that are responsible for eyesight. So, when there is a tumour in the pituitary, this can enlarge and compress the sight nerves, which can lead to vision impairment and possible eyesight loss.
Visual impairment, due to the tumour, will determine the type and speed of treatment.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
If you experience a tingling or pain in your fingers, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. This is caused by excess fluid retention in the “tissue tunnel” of the wrist that causes pressure on the median nerve.
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome will depend on how severe your symptoms are. Treatments can range from simply resting your wrist(s) and using wrist-supporting splints to taking pain-relieving medications and, if no improvement, surgery.
Joint aches and pains, which your doctor may refer to as arthralgia or arthritis, can occur in people with acromegaly.
Joint problems can also occur as you age and be unrelated to your acromegaly.
Treatments are available to help alleviate painful joints. You might also find that exercise helps.
Rate this content
Living with acromegaly
Acromegaly is a long-term condition. Here you can find information about how people with acromegaly have adapted to their diagnosis and tips for living with the condition.
Find the support you need
Practical tips and tools
Read practical tips to help make your life with acromegaly easier, including tips from others living with the condition.
Find an acromegaly patient support group in your country to learn about local activities and events that you may be able to attend.
Learn about acromegaly
Learn about acromegaly, including what causes this slowly evolving condition, and the early symptoms and signs.