Even after adults stop growing, their bodies still need growth hormones. Growth hormones are classified as proteins that the pituitary gland makes and releases into the blood stream.
What Does Adult Growth Hormone Do For The Body?
- It helps muscles to be healthy
- Helps our bodies collect fat around the stomach area and elsewhere
- It improves the ratio of high density to low density lipoproteins in our cholesterol and bone density
- It helps with healthy brain function
Symptoms of Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency
- Depression & Anxiety
- Decreased sexual drive
- Higher amount of body fat around the waist
- Very sensitive to heat and cold
- Less physical stamina and ability to exercise without resting
- Different physical makeup of blood cholesterol
- Lower bone density and more prone to bone fractures with age
- Less muscle mass
- Higher triglyceride levels, which is a fat that circulates in the blood and helps blocked blood vessels
Low growth hormone levels are typically attributed to a damaged hypothalamus or pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is a part of the brain that controls the pituitary gland. This damage can occur from a tumor or from radiation used to treat the tumor, or even low-blood supply to the pituitary gland, or an injury to it.
Diagnosing Deficiency in Adult Growth Hormone
Typically, after doctors have learned your health history, which may have included surgery, injury to the pituitary gland, or having a history of a pituitary disorder, then they will check you for an adult growth hormone disorder or deficiency. The doctor will typically order a magnetic resonance scan (MRI) if he knows there to be a problem with the pituitary gland. Taking an MRI will help the doctor to know how well treatment is working in affecting the tumor.
Another thing doctors can do is to take a blood test. For adults who have healthy adult growth hormone levels, these hormones will show up in their blood. An endocrinologist may give you a growth hormone stimulation test, to check the response of the pituitary gland to growth hormones. These tests typically take 2-3 hours in an outpatient setting.
Treating Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency Disorders
Once it has been established that an individual has low levels of adult growth hormones, a doctor will prescribe a daily dose of growth hormones, which is injected daily into the body. The person or a family member can do this. A doctor will want to see the patient every 4-8 weeks to decide if they need to increase or decrease the dosage of the hormone level.
A sign of too much growth hormone is joint pain or swelling or numbness in the hands. If the growth hormone deficiency is due to a tumor, then a doctor will monitor the size of the tumor with MRI’s on an annual basis.
Lastly, the doctor will monitor bone density and blood cholesterol. Both of these levels should show signs of improvement with added growth hormones.
It is important to note that individuals with diabetes should keep their doctors very informed and should carefully monitor their blood sugar levels because growth hormones affect the way the body uses insulin.
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