What Is Acromegaly?
Acromegaly is a rare disease that results from excessive secretion of growth hormone (GH) from the pituitary gland, usually caused by an adenoma (excessive growth of normal cells). It has serious, life-altering implications for the patient and can impact quality and longevity of life. Acromegaly is treatable. Early diagnosis is key to treatment success.
Acromegaly is characterized by a broad range of manifestations. A recent study has identified three manifestations that were frequently present at diagnosis: morphologic manifestations (83.7–87.9% patients), snoring syndrome (81.4% patients), and fatigue (79.2% patients). The study also reported that there is a discrepancy between patient- and physician-reported manifestations (see table 1).
|Clusters of symptoms||Frequent symptoms|
as reported by patients
as reported by doctors
|Morphological changes||Enlarged hands|
|Articulation of the jaw|
|Metabolic complications||Excessive sweating||Thyroid disorder|
|Symptoms related to the size of the tumor mass||Visual-field disorder|
|Symptoms associated with a comorbidity||Snoring/sleep apnea||Arthropathy/back pain|
|Fatigue and weight gain||Fatigue|
Acromegaly Awareness Day
Acromegaly Awareness Day on November 1st was launched in 2015 by Jill Sisco, President of Acromegaly Community (USA), in recognition of Tanya Angus and others who have passed and who brought awareness to the disease. Tanya Angus passed away on January 14, 2014; she was 34 years old. Tanya Angus was a patient that was forthcoming with her acromegaly history and created awareness around acromegaly, through social media, TV and a website.
Years later, we still have approximately 80% of patients receiving a diagnosis too late to resume a full normal life. This is not acceptable and there is a need to continue awareness activities. This is particularly true given the fact that treatments discovered in the last ten years make a huge difference, and a significant portion of us can now be in remission.
For more information about how to improve early detection, you can read this paper.
Researched and written by André Parent and Dianne Sauve