HGH: Human Growth Hormone
Human growth hormone is a hormone which naturally occurs in our bodies and is made by the pituitary. The pituitary gland regulates the production of all the hormones in the body.
Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency
Growth hormone is responsible for a child growing to become a full sized adult. It has been safely used for this purpose in children since 1983. Growth hormone has been FDA approved for use in adults who are deficient in growth hormone since 1996.
Growth Hormone deficiency in adults can either be a continuation of a childhood condition or be newly acquired. Adults with this deficiency have decreased muscle mass, increased fat mass, and decreased bone mineral density, and many have decreased strength, endurance, and well-being. Overall these symptoms can be somewhat generalized and vague and include fatigue, depression, insomnia, loss of muscle tone and increased fat around the waistline. However, adults who are deficient in growth hormone have a two to three fold increase in premature heart disease and an increased incidence of diabetes, hypertension, and stroke . A Growth Hormone stimulation test, such as insulin-induced hypoglycemia or use of a combination of arginine and Growth Hormone-releasing hormone, is necessary for diagnosis. Testing may not be necessary if three or more other pituitary hormones are shown to be deficient and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels are below normal. There is a natural decline in growth hormone that occurs with aging and this does not necessarily indicate a need for growth hormone therapy. Vigorous physical activity in older individuals may slow down the typical decline of aging.
What are the Side Effects Associated with Growth Hormone Therapy?
Because growth hormone is a hormone naturally present in the body, it is well tolerated at physiologic doses . Side effects can include fluid retention, joint pain, carpal tunnel symptoms or symptoms related to blood sugar regulations. These are usually temporary and are resolved by decreasing the dose. In patients with Growth Hormone deficiency treatment with Growth Hormone can increase lean body mass, decrease fat mass, and improve the sense of well-being without long-term adverse effects. The short-term adverse effects of edema, joint pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome can be avoided by using a low starting dose and gradually increasing it. Patients with untreated growth hormone deficiency have a two to three fold increase in premature heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and strokes.
Can Growth Hormone Deficiency Occur at Any Age?
A person may become deficient in growth hormone at any age. Any circumstance, which causes traumatic or inflammatory injury to the head, has the potential to later cause deficiency in growth hormone and/or other pituitary hormones as well. Typical conditions include head trauma from car accidents or sports injuries, excessive post-partum bleeding , history of radiation treatments to the head and neck, and any kind of brain surgery.
Do you have signs or symptoms of Growth Hormone Deficiency?
If you have three or more of the below listed symptoms or conditions, you may be deficient in growth hormone. You should see a physician who is qualified to diagnose and manage growth hormone deficiency and other endocrine disorders.
* Depression or Mood Swings
* Loss of muscle mass or decreased strength
* Decreased mental concentration
* Poor Memory
* Decreased Sexual Function or Drive
* Head injury
* Thinning of Skin and premature wrinkling
* Currently receiving one or more other hormone preparations
* Increased Fat around the Waistline