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ADULT HORMONE DEFICIENCY (AGHD)

Aging is definitely a dreaded word for many people, especially those hitting the middle age mark. When you're close to 40, you begin to feel like as if your body is no longer at the level it used to be. You might be in tip-top shape overall, jog a few times a week, and eat well, but you will definitely feel, and see, the insidious effects of aging taking shape within, and without your body. What is there to do about the situation? Can you even do anything serious about aging?

Although growing old is a part of life, there is no reason why we humans must accept aging hands down. What ever happened to the age-old multi centenarians mentioned in religious texts like the Bible? Clearly, those ancient people were used to old age, and even 40 years old was considered to be a young age figure. But here is the keyword in long life: It must have quality as well. There is no point in living long if you're going to be wasting away in a nursing home, with barely a working mind or memory, and with eyesight that can hardly see beyond the newspaper you're holding.

What about Adult Hormone Deficiency and Premature Aging.

Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency or AGHD occurs in adults when either pituitary gland is missing or does not secrete enough growth hormone. Often times the pituitary gland is referred to as the “master gland” because it controls so many different hormones. When the pituitary gland is missing or does not function correctly, it may be necessary to replace some or all of the hormones that the gland cannot provide one of which may be growth hormone.

Causes of AGHD
The causes of AGHD can include pituitary disease, hypothalamic disease, surgery, radiation therapy, as well as trauma.

Generally, adults with AGHD can be divided into 2 major categories or groups:
Individuals who were growth hormone deficient as children and continue to be so as adults (childhood-onset AGHD patients). Individuals who have became growth hormone deficient as adults (adult-onset AGHD patients)

Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency with Childhood Onset
In many people, adult growth hormone (hGH or GH) deficiency is the continuation of a disorder that began early in life, in infancy or childhood. This type of adult GH deficiency is referred to as having childhood onset.

For some cases, the causes of GH deficiency in childhood cannot be determined; this type of disorder is referred to as idiopathic. Some known causes may include:

  • Developmental defects in or near the pituitary gland
  • Genetic problems with the production of GH
  • Damage to the pituitary gland or the surrounding area due to tumors,
    infection, radiation treatment, or severe head injury

Some children with GH deficiency may gain the ability to secrete GH with time and may not require GH therapy as adults. However, scientific evidence suggests that many adults who were GH-deficient as children and continue to be GH-deficient as adults may need to continue therapy into adulthood in order to have enough GH to meet metabolic demands as adults (although many factors can contribute to such conditions).

Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency with Adult Onset
Some people with adult growth hormone (hGH or GH) deficiency were not GH-deficient as children. These people are said to have adult-onset GH deficiency. The most usual cause of adult-onset GH deficiency is damage to the pituitary gland, which is responsible for secreting GH.

Damage is most commonly caused by tumors in and around the pituitary. These tumor may compress the gland, or the damage may occur when the tumor is removed. The pituitary gland may also be damaged by infection, blood vessel disease, severe head injury, or radiation treatment for tumors of the head or neck.

Symptoms of AGHD
People with this disorder may have increased body fat and/or reduced lean body mass, or blood tests may show that their cholesterol levels are higher than normal or out of proportion. Some patients with AGHD may also experience changes in bone density, reduced strength and exercise capacity, and impaired psychological well-being. While many factors can contribute to these conditions, it’s possible AGHD may be a cause. Young adults who were growth hormone deficient as children and have recently stopped growing may continue to be growth hormone?deficient as adults; in order to make a proper diagnosis, a stimulation test is required. The very same standard growth hormone stimulation test is also used to confirm adult-onset AGHD.

Patients with confirmed AGHD? even those who have not yet experienced symptoms?should consult their physician about the potential benefits and risks of GH replacement therapy.

Why do I need replacement therapy for AGHD?
If your doctor has determined that your pituitary gland is not producing adequate amounts of growth hormone then replacement therapy should be a consideration.

Although growth hormone will not help you grow any further at this stage in your life, it can play an important role in maintaining healthy body composition and metabolism.

This replacement therapy will help you replace the necessary growth hormone your body is missing.

AGHD Replacement Therapy Explained
Similar to other replacement therapies for various other hormone deficiencies, the goal of replacement therapy for AGHD is to replace, and thus re-balance, what is absent, endogenous growth hormone. Thus helping improve body composition and metabolism.

Your doctor will prescribe HGH that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the replacement of endogenous growth hormone in patients with biochemically confirmed AGHD (peak GH <5 ?g/L).

Patients must meet both of the following criteria to be eligible for replacement of endogenous growth hormone:

  1. Biochemical diagnosis of AGHD by means of a subnormal response to a standard growth hormone stimulation test (peak GH <5 ?g/L), and
  2. Adult-onset: Patients who have AGHD either alone or with multiple hormone deficiencies (hypopituitarism) as a result of pituitary disease, hypothalamic disease, surgery, radiation therapy, or trauma; or
  3. Childhood-onset: Patients who were growth hormone deficient during childhood, confirmed as an adult before replacement therapy is started.

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