This website is intended for US residents only.
This website is intended for US residents only.

How is acromegaly defined?

Acromegaly is an infrequently diagnosed but treatable hormonal or endocrine disorder that is due to having too much growth hormone in the body.

Origins of the word acromegaly

‘Acro’ comes from the Greek word ákros, meaning topmost or highest and refers to the extremities of the body (such as the hands and feet).

‘Megaly’ comes from the Greek word for great, meaning enlarged. So acromegaly literally means ‘large extremities’.

What is the difference between acromegaly and gigantism?

Acromegaly and gigantism are two different conditions. As general rule acromegaly occurs in adults and gigantism occurs in children and adolescents.

Both are rare diagnoses and are due to having excess levels of growth hormone in the body.

The main difference between acromegaly and gigantism is that gigantism occurs in childhood when the long bones are still growing in length and susceptible to the effects of growth hormone and another hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This can make those affected grow very tall, very quickly.

Rate this content

Rating: 4.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

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

Acromegaly FAQs

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

View FAQs

Learn about acromegaly

Learn about acromegaly including what causes this slowly evolving condition, and the early signs and symptoms

Learn about acromegaly
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Click here for more information.
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. This site is not intended to provide medical advice or substitute a conversation with a healthcare professional. 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 April 2020 NON-US-001403_US