Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is a medical condition, caused by problems arising in the pituitary gland, in which the body does not produce enough growth hormone (GH). Growth hormone, also called Somatropin, is a polypeptide hormone which stimulates growth and cell reproduction.
Growth hormone is a special type of protein made in the brain by the pituitary gland, and it is responsible for more than just physical growth—it helps our muscles, bones, even our metabolism. While growth hormone deficiency in children can result in lack of growth, adults can also suffer from a lack of growth hormone that affects their bodies in other ways. There are pills recommended for asults that could help them improve their growth hormone and in that way could salvage their health.
What causes Adult GHD?
The two main causes
- An adult may become growth hormone deficient due to damage to the pituitary or hypothalamus gland. The damage may be caused by tumours of these glands, surgery or radiation treatment to remove these tumours, or even a severe head injury.
- A person may have been born with growth hormone deficiency. Most of these individuals are diagnosed as children. A number of the more severe cases will need treatment throughout life. However, some children may not be diagnosed and end up finding out they have growth hormone deficiency as adults.
How to Diagnose GHD in Adulthood
Some symptoms of adult growth hormone deficiency can be caused by other conditions. If you have a history of childhood growth hormone deficiency, you might want to talk to your doctor.If your doctor suspects the possibility of adult GHD, he or she may refer you to an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in hormone disorders.
In order for the endocrinologist to confirm you have adult GHD, they may order a stimulation test, or “stim” test. During this test, a patient is given a medication that causes the pituitary gland to release larger amounts of growth hormone at once. Several blood samples are taken over a period of time, measuring the amount of growth hormone in the body. Your endocrinologist may need to do more than one stim test to accurately diagnose growth hormone deficiency.
Signs and Symptoms of GHD in Adults
- abnormality body composition with increased fat mass (especially central adiposity)
- decreased lean muscle mass
- extracellular fluid volume
- Diminished muscle strength
- physical energy and stamina
- lack of motivation
- Liability (changes in mood)
- Impairment of cognitive functions
- High cholesterol especially LDL (the bad cholesterol)
Most children with growth hormone deficiency have obvious symptoms, such as short stature. But because adults have already reached their full height, the symptoms of adult growth hormone deficiency are different. Growth hormone plays a role in bone development, muscle development, and fat and weight gain. These signs and symptoms that are mentioned above are the lookouts on how to find out if you need to consult your doctor regarding these signs. If it is occurring always like if you are always lethargic and depressed out of nowhere, then it is already a reason to go have a specialist check on you.