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This website is intended for an international audience, excluding the United States, Canada and France

Is it a symptom or sign?

A symptom is something that a person can feel or report to a healthcare professional, such as having a headache, joint aches or excessive sweating.

A sign is something that a healthcare professional finds upon examination, such as an altered jawline, having unusually thick skin or high blood pressure.

Features of acromegaly

How does acromegaly affect people?

Acromegaly can affect people in different ways. Some people with acromegaly may physical changes over time, such as rings not fitting on their fingers or gloves feeling tighter, or they may find their shoes feel smaller than they used to. Some people will notice the spaces of their teeth becoming wider or experience a change of the way their face is looking.

Other people experience visual changes or have nonspecific symptoms such as aching joints or general tiredness, headaches or feeling low in mood that may be put down to other conditions at first.

In women aged 40 or older, symptoms may be wrongly attributed to the start of the menopause.

Excessive snoring that your partner complains about or not sleeping well, gradually gaining weight, and sweating excessively are other features of acromegaly.

What physical changes can occur long term?

Over many years the shape of the face may change if the condition is not recognised and treated, with gradual bone changes causing the nose and brow to enlarge, the lower jaw may protrude and gaps between the teeth may start to widen or teeth become misaligned. The voice may deepen and become huskier as the vocal cords thicken.

These symptoms and signs develop gradually and you, and even those close to you who see you every day, may not be aware of them for some time.

In fact, friends or family who may not have seen you in a while or a new healthcare professional may be the first to notice physical changes suggesting that you may have acromegaly.

Comparing your current appearance with an older photograph may help you see if any changes you might be experiencing could be due to acromegaly.

Acromunity fast facts

The diagnosis of acromegaly is often delayed because the features develop gradually and are not specific at first. They may be wrongly attributed to the normal aging process.

As a result it is not uncommon for people to remain undiagnosed for several years, even up to 10 years in some cases.

Read about the diagnosis of acromegaly >

Could your symptoms be due to acromegaly?

Take a look at the questions below that ask about some of the symptoms that people with acromegaly may experience and signs that clinicians may notice.

Think about your own circumstances and do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion as there may be other symptoms not listed here that you have been experiencing, but when you consider them together, could point towards a diagnosis of acromegaly.

Remember that symptoms and signs can be discreet or nonspecific and may take several years to emerge and may not even be recognised as acromegaly until after you are formally diagnosed by a healthcare professional.

If you can answer yes to several of these questions or you suspect that you could have acromegaly then it may be worth discussing your answers with a doctor who may refer you to a specialist who treats people with endocrine disorders.

It is important to consult a healthcare professional if you have not already been diagnosed as the information provided here is not intended to replace professional advice.

“You don’t have to have all the symptoms to have a problem; my symptoms were not making me ill”

Maria, Living with acromegaly

Symptoms and signs of acromegaly checklist

Over the past few years

  • Has your shoe size changed?
  • Have you noticed any change in the size of your hands? For example, have you needed to buy bigger gloves or noticed a change in your ring size?
  • Have you or your dentist noticed any changes to your bite or jaw shape?
  • Have your teeth become more spaced out or misaligned?
  • Does your tongue feel too big for your mouth or bigger than it should?
  • Have your noticed any changes in your voice? Has it become deeper or huskier?
  • Have you regularly had trouble sleeping or do often feel tired in the day?
  • Has anyone told you that you snore at night? If so, do you have temporary episodes where you stop breathing (i.e., sleep apnoea)?
  • Have you had regular or painful headaches?
  • Have you noticed any changes in your field of vision?

 

  • Have you found that you sweat a lot more than before?
  • Have you experienced joint pain on a regular basis?
  • Have you experienced any low mood that you cannot really explain?
  • Has the normal pattern of your periods changed?
  • Do you feel tired more than usual on a regular basis that has stopped you doing things?
  • Have you stopped doing or avoided doing any activities because it is too painful to complete them

Download a copy of these questions:

Acromegaly symptoms and signs checklist (MS Word)

Acromegaly symptoms and signs checklist (PDF)

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Find out more about acromegaly

Diagnosing acromegaly

Find out how acromegaly is diagnosed and the tests that healthcare professionals may use to assess acromegaly symptoms

Diagnosis & Testing

Treating acromegaly

Read about acromegaly treatment options, including surgery, medications and radiotherapy, and the goals of therapy

Treating acromegaly

Acromegaly FAQs

Read and hear answers to some common questions that patients with acromegaly have asked

View FAQs
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Ipsen
Please always consult a healthcare professional if you require healthcare advice or if you have any specific concerns regarding your acromegaly, its treatment or side effects. The information provided here is not intended to replace professional advice. This website has been developed by Ipsen in collaboration with those living with acromegaly and the healthcare professionals who care for them. Ipsen would like to thank everyone for their valuable insights and stories. All names used on this website are not necessarily real names. Visit our website for more information about us, or to contact us directly. Website design and development by Kanga Health Ltd. Website reference SOM-ALL-000556