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Acromegaly, the disease of the giants

Acromegaly, the disease of the giants

Giants, people with huge limbs and great stature. Outside of science fiction, they are normal people with a rare disease called acromegaly.

With an incidence of at least 3-4 cases per million people per year, with more than 3,000 cases in the United Kingdom and 15,000 in America, acromegaly is a rare disease caused by excessive secretion of growth hormones, in 99 % of cases caused by a benign tumor in the pituitary.

It affects both genders equally, and its diagnosis is complicated, being carried out mostly at an age between 40-60 years. These people will present physical characteristics Common, such as huge limbs, malformed skull, body odor problems, decreased peripheral vision, hoarseness, and even sleep apnea.

Living with acromegaly

But how are these diseases related to increased growth hormone secretion? The fact is that growth hormone is a powerful insulin antagonistIn short, an impostor who does not hesitate to impersonate insulin, imitating its function but without producing the same effect, so that an abnormal tolerance to glucose is produced, leading to this condition.

Not only does our physique change, but our internal tissues and organs also undergo a series of modifications. The most common is the pulmonary condition, since the lung capacity is reduced and narrowed, causing deficiencies and respiratory diseases.

Is acromegaly treated?

How treatment, these people have surgery, irradiation of the pituitary or medical treatment, being in most cases a combination of all three. The objectives are:

  • Elimination of the tumor in the pituitary and the consequences on the mass.
  • Relief of typical symptoms of acromegaly.
  • The control and stabilization of the levels of growth hormone and associated hormones.
  • Maintenance of the normal function of the pituitary, and the prevention of chronic complications.

Giants in society

If by chance you have seen the exciting movie Big fish. In it, mixing fiction and reality, enters the figure of Matthew McGrory, a giant in fiction, and sick with acromegaly in reality. Soon after turning 32, McGrory died of heart failure, caused by acromegaly.

Reflection on this character in the story helps us get the idea of ​​what people with this condition might be like before it was described in 1886 by Pierre Marie. A lonely person, self-conscious, with problems in his routine, and many social complications.

Source | Genereview | Big fish: 2 actors with acromegaly