Acromegaly vs Gigantism – Difference and Comparison

What is Acromegaly?

Excess growth hormone (GH) after the growth plates have closed causes a condition known as Acromegaly. Enlargement of the hands and feet is the first indication. Excessive growth of the forehead, jaw, and nose may also occur. Other signs and symptoms include joint pain, thicker skin, a deeper voice, headaches, and visual issues. High blood pressure and type-2 diabetes are all possible complications of the condition.

The condition of Acromegaly is an unusual physical transformation; it might take a long time to recognize it. High growth hormone levels, if left untreated, can harm your bones and other parts of your body. This can result in earnest — and occasionally life-threatening — health issues. On the other hand, treatment can lower your problems and considerably improve your symptoms, including facial expansion.

Acromegaly can also lead to facial changes in shapes; different elements of the face get disfigured like the nose, lips, teeth, jaws, etc. Earlier, the progression of this disease takes time, so it is difficult to spot the presence of Acromegaly. When significant changes start to the individual, the disease might be at a higher risk stage. 

What is Gigantism?

Gigantism, often known as giantism, is a condition in which a person’s growth and height are far above average. Overproduction of growth hormone in childhood causes this syndrome in humans, resulting in adults ranging in height from 7 to 9 feet. It’s a rare condition that happens after puberty. High growth hormone levels cause it before the fusion of the growth plate.

The most primary trigger of this rise is aberrant tumor growth on the pituitary gland. Acromegaly, an adult variant of the condition characterized by somatic expansion, particularly in the limbs and face, should not be confused with Gigantism. It’s been not easy to pinpoint a precise genetic reason for Gigantism. Growth hormone hypersecretion syndromes, including Gigantism, are a set of conditions that are still poorly understood.

According to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, surgery can cure 80 percent of Gigantism caused by the most prevalent form of pituitary tumor. Medications can lessen your child’s symptoms and allow them to live a long and full life if the tumor returns or surgery is not safe to attempt.

Difference Between Acromegaly and Gigantism

  1. Acromegaly is Growth hormone secretion that begins to increase with age. Gigantism can develop at any age until the epiphysis fuses at puberty. Gigantism is a condition in which the growth hormone is overproduced throughout childhood.
  2. Acromegaly is the result of the disease process that begins with puberty. It is more common than Gigantism. Because of the limited minority of cases, the mortality rates of Gigantism in children are unexplained. 
  3. As the illness begins in adulthood, an individual with Acromegaly does not show symptoms of height change. The number of people with Gigantism is already rising in children.
  4.  The gonads do not cause Acromegaly because the person is an adult when the condition starts, whereas Gigantism affects the gonads because the person is young.
  5. Acromegaly is common these days, but Gigantism is not very common.

Comparison Between Acromegaly and Gigantism

Parameters of ComparisonAcromegalyGigantism
CausesAcromegaly can be caused when: the pituitary gland releases too much GH into the body over a lengthy period. GH gets into the blood and provokes insulin production from the liver gland. This growth factor is an essential element for controlling the bone and tissue growth of the body.This disorder spurs abnormal growth in the tissues of the bone. The pituitary gland produces significantly more growth hormone than the body needs when a tumor forms on it.
SymptomsIn Acromegaly, your hands and feet swell and become larger. One can easily notice changes in ring size or shoe size. Hands and feet swell and become large.In Gigantism, children may have a flat nose, large head, tongue, and lips. Adults have a prominent jaw and forehead. Coarse facial features are also noticed often. 
TreatmentIn Acromegaly, Radiation, Surgery, and Medication is considered the best treatment tools.Surgery, Medication, and Gamma Knife Radiosurgery are the trusted treatment of Gigantism.
Mostly effective Acromegaly starts after puberty and can happen at any point of time. Mostly occurs in middle age.Gigantism mainly occurs in Children. It is a rare condition that happens in childhood.
DiagnosisAcromegaly can be diagnosed through blood and imagining tests.Gigantism can be diagnosed through a blood test to have accuracy on the level of growth hormones. 

References

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/humu.23121
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2265.1994.tb03789.x