Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of acromegaly vary between people and can be caused by the tumor itself or by elevated GH and IGF-1 levels.

 “I started to notice numbness in my hands when I was playing golf. Over time, my hands would swell and appeared to be growing larger. I started having problems with joint pain, especially in my knees and shoulders.

Jim, Illinois
View Jim’s Story

For people living with acromegaly, too much GH and IGF-1 in the bloodstream can signal the body to grow, resulting in the following signs and symptoms:

  • Enlargement of the hands, feet and tongue
  • Increased sweating
  • Thickening of the facial features, especially the nose
  • More prominent jaw and forehead
  • Spreading out of the teeth
  • Joint pain
  • Sleep apnea
  • Fatigue
  • Pain and tingling in the hands and wrists
  • Large numbers of skin tags
  • Increased incidence of colon polyps

The tumor on the pituitary gland can also cause symptoms unrelated to GH or IGF-1. The tumor sometimes grows large enough to impair the pituitary gland or push against nearby nerves and blood vessels in the brain. Symptoms caused by the tumor itself include:

  • Headaches
  • Partial loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Impotence
  • Low sex drive
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle for women

References:

1 eMedicineHealth. (2014). Acromegaly [Fact sheet]. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service (NEMDIS); A service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Acromegaly Fact Sheet. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
3 Johns Hopkins Medicine. The Pituitary Center. Pituitary Adenomas. Retrieved April 1, 2016.