Acromegaly occurs when your body makes too much growth hormone (GH)
. Most often, the extra GH comes from a tumor in the pituitary gland.
The pituitary gland is a small gland at the base of the brain. It produces GH, a hormone that your body needs in order to grow and function properly. Your body uses GH to produce another hormone called insulin-like growth factor I, or IGF-I (I-G-F-wun).
When the pituitary gland makes too much GH, your body creates too much IGF-I. And that extra IGF-I can lead to many of the uncomfortable symptoms and health complications of acromegaly.
What problems can acromegaly cause?
You may notice:
- Growth or swelling in hands or feet or an increase in ring or shoe size
- Growth in facial features (like the chin, forehead, or nose)
- Increased spacing of teeth
- Enlarged tongue
- Increased sweating, unpleasant odor
- A tired feeling most of the time
You may also have:
- Vision problems
- Thick, oily skin
- Pain in the joints (like the knees or hips)
- Weak muscles
- Tingling (pins-and-needles feeling), numbness (abnormal feeling), or weakness of the hands
- Missing or irregular periods
- Unusual tiredness or exhaustion
- Swelling in the front of the neck, caused by an enlarged thyroid gland
- Voice change (hollow-sounding voice)
- Breathing difficulties during sleep, which can cause snoring/sleep disturbances
- Decreased sex drive
- Skin tags (growths of excess skin)