When your endocrinologist says that you have growth hormone deficiency (GHD), it means that your body does not make enough growth hormone. This hormone is a natural substance produced by the pituitary gland that is needed to maintain tissues such as bone, fat, and muscle in healthy balance.
GHD can have adverse effects on your body composition, which can include the following:
1. An increased amount of body fat, especially around the middle of the abdomen
2. An increase in total cholesterol circulating in the blood, leading to a greater risk of heart and arterial disease
3. A decrease in muscle mass, meaning that you are less able to exercise
4. A weakening in the structure of your bones, resulting in a condition called osteoporosis
To test for GHD, endocrinologists often use a special medicine that stimulates the pituitary gland, which is where growth hormone is produced within the body. In people with GHD, the pituitary gland releases far less growth hormone than usual in response to this stimulation.
GHD that first appears in adulthood is called adult-onset GHD. This can be the result of damage to the pituitary gland due to disease, head injury, or blockage of the blood supply. Damage may also result from previous surgical or radiotherapy treatment of the pituitary gland.
Without treatment, GHD can cause various problems, such as decreased vitality and lower ability to exercise. GHD can also have adverse effects on the proportion of fat, muscle, and bone in your body. This can have the following results:
© 2015 Novo Nordisk All rights reserved. USA15NOM00225 November 2015