1. Acromegaly is caused by prolonged overproduction of GH by the pituitary gland.
  2. The pituitary is a small gland at the base of the brain that produces several important hormones to control body functions such as growth and development, reproduction, and metabolism.
  3. GH is part of a cascade of hormones that, as the name implies, regulates the physical growth of the body.
  4. This cascade begins in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which makes hormones that regulate the pituitary.
  5. The excess GH also causes changes in sugar and lipid metabolism and can cause diabetes.
  6. If a doctor suspects acromegaly, he or she can measure the GH level in the blood after a patient has fasted overnight to determine if it is elevated.