What is acromegaly?
You can learn more about the medical features of this condition in this section.
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
Find out how acromegaly is diagnosed and the tests that healthcare professionals may use to assess acromegaly symptoms
Read about acromegaly treatment options, including surgery, medication and radiotherapy, and the goals of therapy
Read answers to some common questions that patients with acromegaly have asked