Be Aware, Be Early

My name is Dianne Sauve and I was diagnosed with acromegaly in 2012. After eight years dealing with this disease and talking with many patients, I consider myself one of the lucky acromegaly patients. Unlike many others, I did not have to spend years feeling my body and quality of life deteriorating while being unable to find a resolution to multiple health problems. My diagnosis came on the heels of being diagnosed by my family physician as having type 2 diabetes. Always concerned and proactive with my healthcare, I made a point of seeing my family physician annually for blood work and a discussion on my general health. I was fortunate that this led me to a very fast diagnosis of acromegaly.

After the diabetes confirmation, I accepted my doctor’s offer to be referred to an endocrinologist who would help me with the diabetes. I would be educated on what was happening in my body and how I could control the disease. Following a discussion with the endocrinologist, I asked a few simple questions about diabetes that triggered her to further question me. My feet had grown and I was having difficulty losing weight even though I was exercising. With a keen eye, she looked at me and decided to order further blood work. It was that bloodwork that revealed a high IGF-1 level and further investigation confirmed acromegaly. I am thankful that my endocrinologist listened to my concerns and was open to further tests to determine what could be the cause. Had she not, I may have seen my body deteriorate over the next eight years without knowing what was happening. Quality of life for me would have been very different than it is today.

Early diagnosis and knowledge of acromegaly are two reasons why I decided to become an advocate for this disease. Like most people, I had never heard of acromegaly when I was diagnosed, but I took the time to learn and then realized that the simple act of having a blood test changed the course of my life. I wanted to connect with other patients and also raise awareness so that others would not have to suffer for years before being diagnosed. After all, I was one of the lucky ones.

Knowledge of acromegaly and its symptoms can empower the individual to initiate discussion with their physician about the disease. This in turn could lead to exploring whether acromegaly is the root of an individual’s health problems.

My message to the general public is to learn what acromegaly is, how it can affect your body, and what symptoms it presents. Early diagnosis is key to disease control as well as quality and longevity of life for the patient. See your family physician on a regular basis, ask questions if you need answers, be informed, and join a support group if you are diagnosed. You are not alone!

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