What is Gigantism?
Gigantism is a disease in which there is an increased production of growth hormone (growth hormone), which in turn leads to an excessive proportional growth of the limbs and torso.
Gigantism is a disease in which there is an increased production of growth hormone (growth hormone), which in turn leads to an excessive proportional growth of the limbs and torso. In men with this disease, growth exceeds 200 cm, and in women it is 190 cm. It is more often observed in men aged 7–13 years (puberty) or during puberty and continues throughout the entire period of physiological growth. Growth rates of the child and the growth rate exceed the norms of a given age and gender.
Gigantism should not be confused with tall stature. Parents of persons suffering from this disease is predominantly of normal growth.
Causes of Gigantism
The basis of gigantism is the increased production of somatotropin, which can develop with the following lesions:
- adenohypophysis tumors;
- neuroinfection (an infectious (bacterial or viral) disease of the central nervous system, such as meningitis, encephalitis, meningoencephalitis);
- intoxication (poisoning by toxins);
- traumatic brain injury.
Also, the cause of gigantism can be a decrease in the sensitivity of receptors of the epiphyseal cartilage (the part of the bone in which it grows in length) to sex hormones, with the result that the bone growth zones remain open for a long time (that is, with preserved ability for further growth) after puberty period (7-13 years).
Patients have characteristic complaints: high growth and significant rates, weakness, fatigue, decreased performance and school performance, headaches, dizziness, pain in the limbs, and sometimes – visual impairment. Muscle strength may be elevated at first, but further significantly reduced.
An objective examination, that is, during the examination revealed: high growth, proportional physique, sexual development is normal, but it is often noted delay. Possible violations of the thyroid and pancreas. Pronounced changes from other endocrine glands and internal organs are not observed.
Laboratory studies with gigantism without significant changes, however, the content of somatotropin is increased in the blood.
Radiography and computed tomography of the brain are used as instrumental examinations. Pathologies are detected in pituitary tumors. In the presence of a growing adenoma (benign tumor) of the pituitary gland, an increase in the size of the Turkish saddle (the part of the skull where the pituitary gland is located) is observed. On radiographs of the bones of the hand is determined by the lag of bone age from the passport. With growing adenoma, there is a limitation of visual fields (visual impairment).
With the continued active production of somatotropin after maturation of the skeleton, acromegaly forms.
With gigantism, the examination is the same as with acromegaly.
Modern methods of treatment, provide a combination of hormonal drugs and radiotherapy, in many cases, give positive results. In case of tumor damage to the pituitary gland, surgical intervention is indicated. The treatment is basically the same as with acromegaly.
The prognosis is relatively favorable, however, the life expectancy of patients is reduced; gigantic patients are susceptible to the so-called intercurrent diseases (diseases that complicate the course of another disease) and can die from them.
Gigantism is impossible to prevent.