Excessive growth and too much height due to chronic overactivity of the pituitary gland which is located at the base of the brain. (Growth hormone is specifically made by the anterior pituitary gland.)
In pituitary gigantism, there is secretion of too much growth hormone before the end of adolescence. People with pituitary gigantism can truly be giants. They can sometimes end up over 7 or 8 feet in height.
When too much growth hormone is secreted after adolescence, there cannot be an increase in height but a condition called acromegaly ensues. The cardinal manifestations of acromegaly include thickening of the skin, soft tissues, and bones of the hands and feet. These effects are insidious and very slowly progressive. Ultimately they cause considerable disability (aside from the need for larger rings, gloves, and shoes) including hoarseness, sleep apnea, joint pain, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, insulin resistance, visual impairment and severe headaches.
Pituitary gigantism and acromegaly may be caused by an adenoma of the pituitary (a tumor of the pituitary) or by other causes. Treatment is usually possible via medication or surgery. Inadequate treatment of pituitary gigantism and acromegaly is associated with increases in deaths from cardiovascular causes, cancer, and other causes.
- Pituitary gland
The main endocrine gland. It is a small structure in the head. It is called the master gland because it produces hormones that control other glands and many body functions including growth. The pituitary consists of the anterior and posterior pituitary. The anterior pituitary is the front portion of the pituitary. Hormones secreted by it […]
- Pituitary, anterior
The front portion of the pituitary, a small gland in the head called the master gland. Hormones secreted by the anterior pituitary influence growth, sexual development, skin pigmentation, thyroid function, and adrenocortical function. These influences are exerted through the effects of pituitary hormones on other endocrine glands except for growth hormone which acts directly on […]
- Pituitary, posterior
The back portion of the pituitary, a small gland in the head called the master gland. The posterior pituitary secretes the hormone oxytocin which increases uterine contractions and antidiuretic hormone (ADH) which increases reabsorption of water by the tubules of the kidney. Underproduction of ADH results in a disorder called diabetes insipidus characterized by inability […]
- Pityriasis alba
A mild form of eczema that occurs in young children and adolescents and produces mild patchy lightening and slight scaling of the skin of the face (particularly over the cheeks and around the mouth), the shoulders, or trunk. The word “pityriasis” was used by the physician Hippocrates in ancient Greece to describe the scruffy appearance […]
- Pityriasis rosea
A common mild rash of unknown origin that can appear on a person of any age (most commonly at 10-35 years of age). It may last from several weeks to a few months, often begins with a “herald” patch, a large single pink patch on the chest or back and, within a week or so, […]