This is an international site dedicated to acromegaly education and awareness. This section of the site is intended for Healthcare Professionals outside the U.S. only. The information on the site is not country-specific.

 

Are you a Healthcare Professional Outside the U.S.?


Yes No

FOR RESIDENTS OUTSIDE THE U.S. ONLY | U.S. Residents

TEXT SIZE A A A

|

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

Pathophysiology

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.

References:
1.
Ayuk J, Shepphard MC. Growth hormone and its disorders. Post Grad Med J. 2006;82:24-30.
2.
Shepphard MC, Pulgar S, Stephens J. Health-related quality of life and economic burden in acromegaly. Presented at the 11th International Pituitary Congress, Washington, DC, June 13-15, 2009.
3.
Barkan A. Acromegaly diagnosis and therapy. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 1989;18:277-310.
4.
Melmed S. Acromegaly. N Engl J Med. 1990;322:966-977.
5.
Melmed S, Kleinberg D. Anterior pituitary. In: Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsky KS, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA.: WB Saunders Company; 2003:177-260.
6.
Melmed S, Casanueva F, Cavagnini F, et al. Consensus statement: Medical management of acromegaly. Eur J Endocrinol. 2005;153:737-740.

Comprehensive Symptom Guide

Acromegaly is comprised of a range of clinical features.5 Click here to read about the most common signs and symptoms of acromegaly.
LEARN MORE NOW >