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Diagnosis of Acromegaly Test Results

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Many of our body’s functions are regulated by the endocrine system. If any of our endocrine glands do not function normally and are unable to produce hormones in the right quantity, there can be problems in the functioning of the body. Acromegaly is such a hormonal disorder which is caused when the pituitary gland, a small organ in the brain is not able to synthesize growth hormones (GH) normally.

When the pituitary gland secretes GH in excess, Acromegaly may be caused. This excess of GH is secreted due to small tumors on the surface of the endocrine gland. These tumors are usually benign and non - cancerous. These tumors are known as adenomas. Acromegaly is a common disorder amongst adults who are in their middle ages. Though the symptoms can appear anytime, it is the middle aged people who are most likely to experience these symptoms.

If a doctor suspects acromegaly, the patient is usually asked for a blood test. In the blood test, the GH level is checked to find out whether it is present in quantities that are higher than normal. Unfortunately, a single measurement of the GH is often not accurate. This is because the pituitary gland secretes the growth hormone in spurts and more often than not, the amount of the hormone present in blood changes after minutes. In fact, the amount of GH measured in a blood sample can differ a lot from another reading taken only minutes after.

Acromegaly Test Results

It is possible for a person with acromegaly, to report normal GH levels during the tests for acromegaly, whereas, in a normal healthy person, the GH levels could be discovered as five times higher than the normal amount. Therefore, blood tests are not considered the best testing procedure for this disease.

Diagnosis

With an oral glucose tolerance test, acromegaly is more likely to be diagnosed. In healthy people, when 75 to 100 grams of sugar is consumed, the GH levels drop drastically, to about 1 nanogram per milliliter. However, when the pituitary gland is over producing GH, this suppression doesn’t take place. With the glucose test for acromegaly, there are higher chances of getting an accurate diagnosis. Since this is a very reliable testing procedure, with glucose tolerance test acromegaly patients are sure to be diagnosed correctly. Once diagnosed, the doctor can then chart an appropriate course of treatment, allowing the patient to recover from the symptoms.

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