Pediatric Acromegaly (Gigantism)

Pediatric Acromegaly (Gigantism)

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Summary

Acromegaly is a condition that occurs when the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone.

Expanded overview

Acromegaly, also known as growth hormone excess (gigantism), is a rare condition. It happens when the pituitary gland (tiny organ at the base of the brain) produces too much growth hormone and releases it into the bloodstream.

In most cases, the condition affects adults, however, it can happen in children. Since children are still growing, excess growth hormone can cause their skeleton to grow very rapidly, leading to a condition called gigantism — or unusually large size. 

Causes

The most common cause of acromegaly is a pituitary gland tumor. Most pituitary gland tumors are benign (noncancerous).

Symptoms

Symptoms of acromegaly in children may include:

  • Early voice changes in boys
  • Enlarged facial features
  • Enlarged hands and feet
  • Enlarged organs (heart, liver, kidneys, etc.)
  • Enlarged tongue
  • Enlarged vocal cords
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Large chest size (barrel chest)
  • Oily or thick skin
  • Sinus problems and snoring
  • Skin tags (short, narrow flap of skin tissue)
  • Vision problems

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