Growth hormone deficiency among adults is very difficult to diagnose. These symptoms often build up slowly as we age. Both patients and also doctors are equally challenged in trying and sorting out what can be serious health issue like growth hormone deficiency and what normal aging is.
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What facts that one must know regarding growth hormone deficiency?
Let us try to understand in medical perspective this growth hormone deficiency. This growth hormone deficiency (GHD) can be considered as certain disorder, which involves our pituitary gland that produces this growth hormone and also other hormones. As the pituitary gland stops producing sufficient growth hormone, then growth will become slower than normal condition.
What can happen if we don’t have sufficient growth hormone?
- Such growth hormone will be needed for children’s normal growth. For adults, this hormone is required for maintaining proper muscle, body fat and bones.
- For adults, due to low or absence of this hormone also can cause different emotional symptoms, e.g. lack of motivation and tiredness.
- Cholesterol can also get affected.
How can you treat your GHD?
- Adults suffering from deficiency of growth hormone have some history about pituitary tumors which can be treated with radiation or surgery.
- GHD can also occur during any age.
Causes of GHD
Cause of any growth hormone deficiency has to be due to absence or low secretion of this hormone from our pituitary gland due to both congenital or acquired conditions. The congenital deficiency can be associated with any abnormal pituitary gland.
It can also be part of any other syndrome. Even in normal aging, we have decrease in growth hormone secretion each day. Acquired causes of this hormone deficiency can be due to surgery, injury or any radiation to our head or brain tumors.
Symptoms of GHD
Symptoms in children for this deficiency include the following:
- Delayed puberty
- Delayed tooth development
- Increased waist
- Low growth velocity for any age or pubertal stage
- Short stature
- Looking younger than any other children of same age
Symptoms in adults for this deficiency are the following:
- Decreased mass of muscle
- Decreased tolerance for strength and exercise
- Feelings of depression, anxiety, or sadness that causes social behavior change
- Low energy
- Thin or dry skin
- Weight gain around the waist
Self-care for this deficiency
Since this deficiency may reduce energy and strength, hence patients must get regular exercise, eat balanced diet and get good sleep.
Medications and treatment for growth hormone deficiency
Doctors may prescribe certain growth hormone medication like somatropin. This drug is given in the form of shots for few times in a week which is injected beneath the patient’s skin fat.
In some cases, there can be surgical treatment for pituitary tumors.
Some other therapies include radiation therapy for pituitary gland if surgery cannot be safely done for tumor removal.
Necessary follow-up care may be needed with an endocrinologist who are specialist in studying hormones will be recommended.
Outlook for GHD
The prognosis will be decided by the response of patient to any therapy for growth hormone replacement and the basic cause of such deficiency.
- Energy may increase
- Exercise tolerance and also performance can be increased
- Mood may improve
- Muscle mass can increase.
- Patient may also lose weight.
Complications of GHD are the following:
- Emotional and mental and issues
- Insulin resistance
- Obesity, various complications
- Premature cardiovascular disease
Counseling and support groups for GHD
Some patients can also get benefit from any counseling and also joining any support group with many other people who also have GHD.