Quality of Life Issues

Treatments for acromegaly have come along way in the last few years. In the vast majority of cases, surgery or medication (or both), can provide great improvements to the quality of life for a person with acromegaly. 

Long-term effects of excessive growth hormone secretion can be disabling and may also be disfiguring. Most acromegalic patients have somewhere between 4-10 years of history in feature changes. These can include: bony overgrowth, soft tissue swelling, skin changes, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and other cardiovascular symptoms. In addition to signs and symptoms of GH excess, other issues can arise, such as body image issues, mood swings, reduced self-esteem, disruption in interpersonal relations, and social withdrawal anxiety. These feelings are real and need to be addressed. You are highly encouraged to talk to your doctor about any symptoms or issues you may experience. In most cases, he or she can help, or at least refer you to appropriate care. 

We are so lucky to live in Canada where healthcare is available to all and has advanced so far over the last 20 years. If you or someone you care about has acromegaly, there is hope and there is help. 

Important points to remember: 

  • Acromegaly, in most cases, is a treatable disease. It is possible to attain a relatively “normal” and healthy life.
  • While acromegaly is rare and sometimes may feel like a lonely disease, there are many others with the disease. YOU are NOT alone. Take advantage of the many online resources, support groups, and forums. Speak to your endocrinologist and/or nurse. He or she will likely have a list of resources available as well.
  • Follow-up with your doctor is essential. Depending on the size of your tumour when diagnosed, there is a chance for recurrences of the tumour. Regular monitoring is very important. Discuss with your doctor the best frequency of follow-up visits for you.
  • If you experience depression or issues with anger, speak to your doctor or healthcare provider.
  • As individuals, we may have different needs regarding acromegaly. There will be issues specific to you. Talk to your specialist to determine the best form of treatment for you. 

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