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is a condition caused by increased levels of growth hormone (GH). GH helps your body use energy and build bones, muscles, and tissues. GH is made by your pituitary gland, a small organ in your brain. A benign (not cancer) tumor on your pituitary gland is the most common cause of acromegaly.
Signs and symptoms:
Signs and symptoms may develop slowly and get worse over time. You may have any of the following:
- Swelling in your hands or feet
- A large forehead, a jaw that sticks out, or teeth with large spaces
- Rough, thick, oily skin, or skin tags
- Heavy sweating
- Severe headaches
- Joint or bone pain, muscle weakness, or getting tired easily
- Problems with your vision
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
- Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest
- and any of the following:
- Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat
Seek care immediately if:
- You have a severe headache that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
- You suddenly lose your vision.
- Your heart is beating faster than usual.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your symptoms do not get better with treatment, or get worse.
- Someone sees you stop breathing for more than 10 seconds while you sleep.
- You notice changes in your vision.
- You think you might be pregnant.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Treatment for acromegaly
may include any of the following:
- Medicine may be given to help lower your GH level.
- Radiation therapy or radiosurgery uses high-energy x-ray beams to kill tumor cells and decrease the size of your pituitary tumor. Radiosurgery may help decrease the risk that the pituitary tumor will grow back.
- Surgery may be done to remove a tumor on your pituitary gland.
- Use skin care products that help decrease oil. Ask your healthcare provider what creams or soaps can help decrease oil on your skin.
- Apply ice or heat to painful joints. Both can help decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your skin. Place ice on your joint for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. You can apply a heat pack or warm compress for 20 minutes every 2 hours.
- Use support devices. You may be given splints to wear on your hands to help your joints rest and to decrease inflammation. While you sleep, use a pillow that is firm enough to support your neck and head.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
You may need a blood test every 3 to 4 months to check your hormone levels. You may need an EKG and a colonoscopy every year. These tests help monitor you for heart disease and colon cancer. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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