When the somatotropic cells in the anterior pituitary gland produce too much somatotropin, you wind up with hypersecretion of human growth hormone.
The hormone that signals the somatotrophs into action is growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH). Somatostatin is the hormone that inhibits HGH production. Both GHRH and somatostatin come from the hypothalamus.
Sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress, and glucose levels all influence human growth hormone release. We most often hear about a condition called Carpal tunnel syndrome may occur as the hands become enlarged. Joint pain is a common complication of hypersecretion of human growth hormone in adults.
Patients dealing with untreated acromegaly are at an increased risk of the following health concerns:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Bowel polyps that can develop into cancer
How Do You Treat Hypersecretion of Human Growth Hormone?
An accurate diagnosis is vital to the proper treatment of hypersecretion of human growth hormone. If a tumor is a cause, then the doctor may order surgery, radiation, medication therapy, or a combination approach.
Here is a closer look at the treatment options:
- Surgery to remove the tumor often provides the quickest recovery from HGH hypersecretion. The typical procedure is transsphenoidal surgery which requires an incision at the back of the nose to remove the tumor from the pituitary gland.
- Radiation (radiotherapy) can be utilized if the tumor is not in a place allowing doctors easy removal. Also, radiation is sometimes used if there is any remaining tissue left from the tumor that doctors were unable to remove during the surgery.
- Medication therapy to treat HGH hypersecretion may use one of the following three types of drugs:
- Dopamine agonists – bromocriptine may help lower HGH secretion but causes multiple side effects, including headaches, nausea, and dizziness. A better option is cabergoline which shows improved results with fewer adverse reactions.
- Growth hormone receptor antagonists – medications such as pegvisomant inhibit HGH action rather than secretion. It interferes directly with the GH receptor. The treatment is well-tolerated and remarkably effective.
- Somatostatin analogs – assist in the inhibiting of HGH release by activating somatostatin receptors in the pituitary gland. This is often the first option for treatment due to positive studies showing reduced tumor size and improved biochemical parameters. Side effects are usually mild and may include abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, nausea, and gallstones.