Endocrine System

Pituitary Gland

Which conditions result from disorders of the human growth hormone?

A deficiency of human growth hormone in children causes growth at a slower than normal rate during puberty. Slow epiphyseal growth results in short stature and larger than normal adipose tissue reserves. In contrast, if there is no decrease in the secretion of GH towards the end of adolescence, the individual will continue to grow to seven or even eight feet tall, resulting in gigantism. When GH is overproduced after normal growth has ceased, a condition called acromegaly (from the Greek akros, meaning “extremity,” and megas, meaning “great” or “big”) occurs. Although the epiphyseal discs cartilages have closed, the small bones in the head, hands, and feet continue to grow, thickening rather than lengthening.


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