What is Growth Hormone?
Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland of the brain. Growth hormones determine height, bone length and muscle growth. Low levels can cause stunted or slowed growth in children.
Natural levels of growth hormone fluctuate during the day and seem to be influenced by physical activity, for example, levels rise during exercise.
Acromegaly and growth hormone
Acromegaly is caused by an excess of growth hormone, which is most commonly caused by a pituitary tumour. It causes an irreversible overgrowth of bones, particularly on the face, hands and feet. The skin is also affected and becomes thick, coarse and hairy. Other side effects include high blood pressure and heart disease.
Taking synthetic growth hormone over a period of time can also cause acromegaly. This can occur in people taking hormone boosters for body building reasons.
What causes Growth Hormone issues?
Bones need sufficient amounts of growth hormone during childhood and adolescence in order to lengthen to adult proportions. Growth hormone prompts the liver to make a substance called insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1. This and other similar compounds are involved in bone growth. A lack of this can can issues.
Body builders also often take drugs such as steroids, amphetamines, beta-blockers and diuretics to stimulate growth hormone. Use of these drugs be very harmful to the human body without medical consultation.
Children who are experiencing stunted or slowed growth need their natural growth hormone levels checked by medical professionals before any drugs are administered. A healthy child with normal growth hormone levels can suffer unwanted and serious side effects if synthetic hormones are taken without medical advice.
Children who lack sufficient natural growth hormone can grow to their full height if they take a synthesised hormone.
Adults who take synthetic growth hormone can experience issues including immune system issues. The use of synthetic growth hormone can be linked to body image. It is recommended to see medical advice and counselling.