Is the disease acromegaly inherited, and how is it treated?

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ako6777's profile pic

ako6777 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Genetically speaking, the causes of acromegaly are still relatively unknown.  Scientists are aware that the disorder arises from a tumor on the pituitary gland. They know that the tumor forms from pituitary gland cells, but the gene responsible for the tumor's development is unknown.

There is a condition called familial acromegaly.  This disorder occurs due to a gene on chromosome 11. "Familial acromegaly is transmitted in an autosomal dominant pattern—which means that it has an equal chance of affecting both boys and girls in a single family." This condition can also cause tumors to form in other parts of the body.  They have occurred on the parathyroid and the pancreas.

Another disorder called multiple endocrine neoplasia-1,  occurs due to a gene in chromosome 11.  In this disorder about half the patients with this gene will develop acromegaly.

Treatment of acromegaly consists of surgery to remove the tumor, radiation therapy, and medications.

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dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Acromegaly is a chronic metabolic disorder caused by too much circulating growth hormone (GH). The body produces too much GH. In children this is called gigantism. Etiology is usually a benign tumor of the pituitary gland (adenoma) which is at the base of the brain.

Symptoms could include enlarged bones of the face, hands, and feet. Joint pain, excessive sweating, and widely spaced teeth. Excessive facial hair in females is also noted.

Diagnosis may be confirmed on MRI showing a pituitary tumor, echocardiogram may show hypertrophy with leaking valves and resultant regurgitation. Heart murmur is auscultated on physical exam.

Treatment consist of surgery to remove the pituitary tumor. Acromegaly may have a genetic component because hGH levels have been noted to be elevated in more than one family member.

besure77's profile pic

besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that usually occurs in middle aged men and women. The word acromegaly comes from the Greek words "extremities" (acro) and "great" (megaly) because a common characteristics of people with this condition have abnormal growth of the hands and feet.

Acromegaly is caused by a benign tumor in the pituitary gland. An excessive amount of growth hormone (GH) is secreted. Untreated acromegaly can result in abnormal facial features. Most of these tumors occur spontaneously and are not genetically inherited.

Acromegaly is generally treated by removing the tumor, although tumors that are very large are difficult to completely remove.

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