The somatotropin test also aids in documenting the excess hGH production responsible for gigantism or acromegaly, and confirms underactivity or overproduction of the pituitary gland (hypopituitarism or hyperpituitarism, respectively).
Acromegaly is a disorder in which the abnormal release of a particular chemical from the pituitary gland in the brain causes increased growth in bone and soft tissue, as well as a variety of other disturbances throughout the body.
This procedure, also called the glucose loading test, is performed to evaluate excessive baseline levels of hGH and to confirm diagnosis of gigantism in children (and acromegaly in adults).
Without treatment, patients with acromegaly are likely to die early because of the disease's effects on the heart, lungs, brain, or due to the development of cancer in the large intestine.
Because the quantity of GH produced varies widely under normal conditions, demonstrating high levels of GH in the blood is not sufficient to merit a diagnosis of acromegaly.
Overproduction of hGH or IGH-I, or an exaggerated response to these hormones, can lead to gigantism or acromegaly, both of which are characterized by a very large stature.
In a child with excessive hGH levels, failure of suppression indicates anterior pituitary dysfunction and confirms a diagnosis of gigantism (or acromegaly).
Individuals with acromegaly or gigantism who have diabetes or diabetes-like symptoms should maintain a diet that helps normalize blood sugar levels.
While this surgery can cause rapid improvement of many acromegaly symptoms, most patients will also require additional treatment with medication.
The most common cause of acromegaly and gigantism is the development of a noncancerous tumor within the pituitary, called a pituitary adenoma.