Hormone Therapy For The Giants Among Us

For anyone who has experienced unusual changes like sudden and inexplicable weight loss, excessive hair growth, or perhaps stunted growth, you may have a condition that requires hormone therapy. There are many conditions that require therapy due to hormone imbalances such as Grave's Disease or Hashimoto Syndrome, both of which are thyroid-related.

What Do Hormones Do?

This article will explain the function of hormones and take a look at one of the more unusual conditions caused by overactive hormones that require hormone therapy: acromegaly, or gigantism. Hormones are, quite simply, chemical messengers that travel through the body telling various cells and systems what to do. They do things such as regulating hunger, stress levels, and so forth.

One condition that you might not immediately associate with a hormonal condition is diabetes for example. Insulin is actually a hormone that tells the body's cells to take sugar up from the bloodstream. When the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, or a person cannot produce insulin naturally, a person is diabetic. The only course of treatment is insulin injection, which is actually a form of hormone therapy.

Jack And The Beanstalk

Some people would love to be taller, but others can suffer from being too tall. Gigantism, formally called acromegaly, is the result of a tumor growing near the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland produces human growth hormone (HGH) which determines a person's adult height.

When a tumor grows near the pituitary gland, it triggers the production too much HGH. Ordinarily, HGH levels drop after the teen years. This basically shuts down the epiphyseal plates (the ends of the bones that grow) and leaves a person at their adult height. In the case of someone with gigantism, HGH levels remain so high that the epiphyseal plates are never capped off, and the individual just keeps growing and growing.

It's a dangerous condition that can cause an enlarged and weak heart and painful bone growth. It can also lead to early death if left untreated, due to either the tumor or poor health. Treatment generally involves removal of the tumor and continued treatment to destroy any remnants.

Hormone therapy is then likely to be required for most individuals. For example, males might need injections to balance their testosterone levels. For an interesting look at gigantism, check the Discovery Health Channel for the documentary for Anatomy of a Giant, which tells the story of NBA hopeful, and giant, Sun Ming Ming. There are also plenty of resources online where you can get more information on hormone therapy for various conditions.