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Growth Hormone Deficiency (Dwarfism...

Growth hormone deficiency is a rare condition that occurs approximately in 1 out of 7000 births. The deficiency occurs when your pituitary gland, located at the base of your brain, fails to produce enough growth hormone. Since gro

Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy:...

The pituitary gland located just below your brain secretes growth hormone responsible for the overall growth of your bones and muscles during childhood. It also plays an important role later in life, as it maintains the metabolism

What is Growth Hormone?

As we grow, our body achieves several growth milestones. Every milestone has a specific time of occurrence. The human growth hormone is responsible for average body growth. In addition to increasing height and building muscle mass, various body functions depend on the growth hormone.

The pituitary gland located at the base of the brain makes the growth hormone or somatotropin. It is a protein hormone primarily comprised of around 190 amino acids. The cells of the anterior pituitary, known as somatotrophs, synthesize and secrete this hormone.

When the growth hormone is secreted in too little quantity or a too-high quantity in children and adults, disorders of the growth hormone may arise. Let us discuss growth hormone in detail.

What are the significant roles of growth hormone in our body?

The growth hormone is responsible for several functions in the body. Its levels rise during childhood and reach a peak during puberty. In adults, it is responsible for metabolic processes. The functions are as follows:

  • Stimulate the body growth: The growth hormone stimulates insulin-like growth factor-I to proliferate the cartilage cells and promote bone growth. It also stimulates the growth of muscles and other tissues by promoting protein synthesis.

  • Metabolic effect: The growth hormone, either by itself or through other mediators, affects protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism.

    • Protein metabolism: Growth hormone promotes protein synthesis and slows its breakdown.

    • Fat metabolism: It promotes fat utilization through adipocyte oxidation and triglyceride breakdown.

    • Carbohydrate metabolism: It is responsible for maintaining glucose levels within normal. It enhances glucose synthesis in the liver.

Which factors control the secretion of growth hormone?

Several factors such as stress, exercise, nutrition, sleep, and the hormone control the secretion of growth hormone. The following hormones control the secretion of growth hormone primarily:

  • Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH): The GHRH is a peptide in the brain's hypothalamus that promotes the synthesis and secretion of growth hormones.

  • Somatostatin: It is produced in the body tissues and hypothalamus. It inhibits the release of growth hormone to different stimuli.

  • Ghrelin: It is a peptide hormone secreted in the stomach that stimulates the secretion of growth hormone.

What happens when the growth hormone secretion is imbalanced?

Sometimes, there may be a deficiency of the growth hormone, or it may be secreted in excess. In both cases, the following disorders may arise:

  • Dwarfism: Deficiency of the hormone from birth may lead to stunted growth.

  • Acromegaly: Excess secretion of growth hormone during adulthood results in acromegaly.

  • Gigantism: Excess secretion of the hormone during childhood.

Growth hormone therapy is available for treating deficiency-related disorders. It is best to consult your health care provider if you have any worries.

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Acromegaly is a rare hormonal disorder prevalent in about 3-14% out of 100000 people. The disease occurs when your pituitary gland makes more than the average growth hormone due to a tumor growing in the gland.

Typically, the

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