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Acromegaly

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Symptoms of Acromegaly

Visible symptoms of acromegaly may include:

  • Enlarged hands and feet
  • Changes in facial appearance (widening or protruding features, enlarged lips or tongue, spaces between teeth)
  • Skin changes (skin tags, thickening skin, excess perspiration, body odor)
  • Voice changes (deep or hoarse voice)
  • Hair growth
  • Weight gain

 
Other symptoms and conditions secondary to the excess of growth hormone (GH) may include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Joint pain or limited joint movement
  • Vision changes
  • Decreased libido, erectile dysfunction
  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Sleep apnea
  • Diabetes (high blood sugar)
  • High blood pressure

 
Many people who experience some or all these individual symptoms as well as many of their treating medical professionals do not realize that they are related, so diagnosing acromegaly is usually delayed. The patient or a sharp-eyed primary care physician may be the first to recognize the connections between a wider shoe size, menstrual changes, and vision problems. Whenever acromegaly or other hormone-related conditions are suspected, the patient should be referred for testing and definitive diagnosis. (See Diagnosing and Treating Acromegaly.)

Patients diagnosed with a pituitary tumor should be referred to a major medical center with an expert team of pituitary specialists. At the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, patients will be evaluated by a multi-disciplinary team that includes neurosurgeons, endocrinologists, otolaryngologists, and neuroradiologists. If surgery is recommended, it will be performed by a neurosurgeon with advanced skills in minimally invasive procedures to remove pituitary tumors. (See Surgery for a Pituitary Tumor.)

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Reviewed by: Georgiana Dobri, M.D.
Last reviewed/last updated: December 2020