How is Acromegaly Diagnosed?

Acromegaly can be a challenging disorder to diagnose because symptoms can develop slowly over time. Many people go years or even decades without a diagnosis because they don’t recognize the changes in themselves, and neither do their family members and friends. Acromegaly is often misdiagnosed because its signs and symptoms may resemble other disorders.

The Road to Diagnosis is Varied

Acromegaly is identified in many different ways, and each person’s diagnosis experience is unique. People with acromegaly may encounter a variety of health care providers who set them on the path toward diagnosis, from dentists to nurse practitioners, gynecologists to sleep specialists.

“My OB/GYN diagnosed me as a fluke. She did part of her residency in an endocrine clinic where she saw a number of acromegaly patients. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have been diagnosed.”

Ellie, Wisconsin
View Ellie’s Story

Taking Action

The first step toward confirming a diagnosis of acromegaly is to talk to your doctor about having a simple blood test to measure for elevated GH and IGF-1 levels in the blood.

If acromegaly is suspected based on a high level of GH and IGF-1 in the bloodstream, your doctor may use a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to identify the presence of a tumor on the pituitary gland that is triggering the overproduction of GH.

Working with your doctor may help protect your health and potentially reduce the amount of acromegaly-related complications.

Visit our Dialogue Guide for Patients for ideas about talking with your doctor or nurse about managing your symptoms.

References:

1 Medscape (2015). Gigantism and Acromegaly [Fact sheet]. Retrieved April 1, 2016.