Epidemiology of Acromegaly
Acromegaly is a relatively rare disease, and studies estimate that the prevalence is around 60 cases per million people.1 In terms of new cases, these are estimated at an annual incidence of 3.3 new cases per million.2,3
Acromegaly is characterised by hypersecretion of growth hormone (GH), which is caused by the existence of a secreting pituitary tumour in more than 95% of acromegaly cases. Pituitary tumours are benign adenomas and can be classified according to size (microadenomas being <10 mm in diameter and macroadenomas being >10 mm in diameter). In rare instances, elevated GH levels are caused by extra-pituitary disorders. In either situation, hypersecretion of GH in turn causes subsequent hepatic stimulation of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).4,5
The clinical features of acromegaly result from either3,4:
- Pressure from the pituitary adenoma
- Elevated levels of GH and IGF-1, which work independently and in tandem to produce various signs and symptoms associated with acromegaly3
Specifically, cardiovascular, respiratory, and metabolic comorbidities—and resultant potential for mortality—are associated with permanently elevated levels of GH and IGF-1.6
It is important to identify acromegaly as early as possible so that your doctor might aid in limiting any health problems associated with acromegaly.