Growth Hormone Deficiency in Adults

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A growth hormone deficiency is caused due to disorders in the pituitary gland – the gland which is responsible for the production of growth hormone. What can cause the pituitary gland to become dysfunctional? Age, disease, head trauma, environmental pollution and sedentary lifestyle have all been shown to affect this delicate gland.

When the production of growth hormone by the pituitary gland reduces, linear growth in adults becomes slower than usual. While growth hormone is essential to stimulate regular growth in children, it is vital for the maintenance of the right bone, muscle, and body fat levels in adults. Low levels of growth hormone can lead to emotional disturbances poor motivation and tiredness. Cholesterol levels in an individual can also be negatively affected by a growth hormone deficiency.

There is no particular age when the deficiency of growth hormone may arise in adults. A large number of individuals do not even realize that they are living with Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency (AGHD) as the condition may arise any time. If you’re unsure as to whether or not you’re suffering from growth hormone deficiency, the following signs and symptoms may give you a better idea.

Causes of AGHD

Deficiency of growth hormone in adults may occur at any time. The main causes for the condition may be as follows:

• Pituitary tumors/treatment of pituitary tumors by radiation therapy and/or surgery
• Craniopharyngioma or other extrapituitary tumors
• Aging pituitary gland
• Poor lifestyle choices
• Sarcoidosis
• Sheehan’s syndrome
• Unknown causes

Signs and Symptoms of Growth Hormone Deficiency in Adults

Grown-ups who suffer from a reduction in growth hormone levels may experience symptoms such as weakened contraction of heart muscles, slower heart rate, elevated lipids in the blood (LDL [Low Density Lipoproteins], cholesterol, triglycerides), increased blood pressure, and arterial plaque, decreased cardiac output resulting in a reduction of exercise capacity, and reduced rate of metabolism resulting in decreased energy levels.

Deficiency of growth hormone in adults also alters body composition. Common symptoms include increased obesity, decreased bone synthesis resulting in reduced bone density, increase in osteoporosis and fractures, decrease in muscle size and muscle strength, increase in fat mass, and reduction of lean body mass. The blood sugar levels of adults with growth hormone deficiency can also drop and cause symptoms such as fainting or dizziness, tiredness or weakness, poor memory or concentration, and headaches.

Physical and Psychological Symptoms

The physical symptoms experienced by those with AGHD include fatigue and lack of energy, decreased sex drive, weak muscles, weight gain, and sleep problems. The psychological symptoms associated with people who suffer from AGHD include anxiety or nervousness, shyness, poor quality of sleep, depression, or sadness, etc.

Criteria and Diagnosis of AGHD

Growth hormone deficiency in adults is caused due to the reduction or stoppage of somatotropin secretion by the pituitary gland. A doctor must be consulted if you experience a good number of the aforementioned symptoms. Growth hormones are usually injected into the bodies of individuals who suffer from a deficiency of HGH. They work on the pituitary gland in a manner such that hormones are created naturally in the body. Replacement therapies must be done under the supervision of a physician who makes the correct diagnosis after an extensive evaluation and required follow ups.