Acromegaly: Creating Real-life Giants Essay

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Acromegaly is a chronic, debilitating, slowly progressive multisystem disorder caused by excessive secretion of growth hormone (GH). In the majority of cases, acromegaly results from benign pituitary adenomas; a benign tumor formed from glandular structures in epithelial tissue. In rare cases, acromegaly is caused by ectopic production of growth-hormone-releasing hormones (Patel, Ezzat and Chik).
The effects of acromegaly can be quite obvious. Andre the Giant may be one of the most famous examples of acromegaly that not many equate to the disease. “At 7'4" and 500 pounds, Andre the Giant could have been famous for his size alone. His drive, talent and ambition, however, proved to be as big as Andre himself, and the wrestler became legendary for his achievements in and out of the ring… Andre, however, suffered from acromegaly…also known as gigantism, this disease caused Andre's body to continue growing his whole life…Sadly, over the years the effects of acromegaly continued to wear down his body. Eventually his immense size was just too much for his heart, and Andre the Giant died in Paris, France in his hotel room on January 27, 1993” (Reserved). The following images demonstrate the effects of acromegaly on the body:
Skull x-ray showing acromegaly X-ray of an average skull

Hand x-ray showing acromegaly X-ray of an average hand

Comparing Andre the Giant to the average man

Disease Process and Etiology
Again, acromegaly results in excessive growth hormone in the body. “There is normal secretion of GH in childhood but hyper-secretion of GH in adulthood” (Roiger). This causes physical disfigurement as well as a...

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...atient to face judgment for being obese, when in fact they are not. Examples like Andre the Giant are inspiring to all, but still, many with this condition can suffer for years with little understanding.

Works Cited

1. Patel, Yogesh C, et al. "Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acromegaly: A Canadian perspective." Clinical and Investigative Medicine (2000): 172-187.
2. Reserved, The Estate Of Andre The Giant All Rights. The Official Site of Andre the Giant. 2014. 10 February 2014 .
3. Roiger, Deborah, M. Ed. Anatomy and Physiology: Foundations for the Health Professions. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, 2013.
4. Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human. National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases: Acromegaly. 6 April 2012. 10 February 2014 .

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