This is an abnormal enlargement of the extremities of the skeleton caused by hypersecretion of the pituitary growth hormone after epiphysial fusion.
Growth hormone stimulates the liver and other tissues to produce somatomedins which promote growth. Growth hormone is also an anabolic hormone and diabetogenic exerting an anti-insulin effect in muscle and increasing hepatic glucose release.
Acromegaly occurs when growth hormone hypersecretion occurs after puberty and the growth plates have fused so that only flat bone enlargement and soft tissue growth is possible. By comparison, gigantism occurs if growth hormone hypersecretion occurs before epiphysial fusion.
Last reviewed 01/2018