Other tests for acromegaly
Other tests that may be used to check for conditions associated with acromegaly are outlined here.
These include tests that look at your eyes, heart, sleeping pattern, bowel and bones. You may also be asked to fill out a questionnaire that aims to assess how having acromegaly affects the quality of your life.
Visual field testing
Visual field testing looks for defects in your eyesight that might be caused by the pituitary tumour pressing on the eyes’ nerves.
During the test you will be asked to stare at a screen indicated to you by the optometrist or ophthalmologist performing the test. You will be asked to report when you see lights flashing across your visual fields.
Echocardiography looks at the heart using sound waves and can help to assess how well your heart muscle is working.
You will need to remove your upper clothing and a small amount of clear lubricating jelly will be placed on your chest.
During this test a small, hand-held probe called a transducer will then be gently pressed onto your chest and moved around to see your heart.
The whole process should take less than an hour. Results will be sent to a cardiologist who will discuss the findings with you.
People with acromegaly can have a coexisting condition called sleep apnea. This is a condition in which you temporarily stopping breathing while you sleep.
A sleep study (polysomnography) can be a way of determining how well you sleep and how serious any sleep problems may be.
Sleep studies are painless and usually involve visiting a hospital centre that specializes in diagnosing and treating people with sleep disorders.
People with acromegaly may be referred for a bone scan (or bone mineral density scan) to check how strong their bones are, and measure calcium and other types of minerals in an area of the bone.
Depending on your age and other signs or symptoms, you may be referred for a colonoscopy. This is because acromegaly can be associated with a small increase in the risk of colon cancer.
This test looks at the inside of your large bowel (colon) and can be used to screen for small benign growths called polyps. Bowel polyps are common, but some are linked to the development of colorectal cancer.
You will need to clear your bowel by eating a low-residue diet and taking laxatives before you have this test. You will be given full instructions on what to do.
A gastroenterologist performs the colonoscopy by inserting a long, thin and very flexible tubular instrument called a colonoscope up into your bowel (through your rectum).
The colonoscope consists of a fibre optic device that sends back pictures of the inside of your bowel to a computer in real time. A biopsy might be taken of any tissue that does not look normal.
A colonoscopy takes about 30 minutes to an hour.
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Find out how acromegaly is diagnosed and the tests that healthcare professionals may use to monitor acromegaly symptoms caused by excess growth hormone in the body due to a pituitary tumour.
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