Growth hormone deficiency is a condition where the pituitary does not secrete enough somatotropin. Somatotropin is a polypeptide hormone that stimulates the growth of cells, tissue, and bone throughout the body. This disease affects about 1 in every 3800 children born.
This deficiency manifests itself in different ways through the stages of life. In newborns, GHD is categorized by hypoglycemia. Early childhood is characterized by stunted growth. By the time adulthood is reached, GDH is manifest in the patient’s lean body mass, brittle bones, as well as several psychological responses like depression, social withdrawal, and poor memory.
To treat this deficiency adults can be given doses of GH through injections into the skin or muscles. Before 1985, sufferers had to inject themselves with hormones extracted from the pituitary glands of deceased donors. Since then though, recombinant DNA technology has allowed scientists to engineer bacteria strains that produce recombinant human growth hormone or rhGH.
These injections provide the body with GH so the liver can convert it into Insulin like Growth Factor. IGF is then sent through the blood stream into the muscles and bones to repair damaged cells, grow tissue, and thicken cell densities.
Overall, GH treatments allow those with GHD to live longer, healthier lives. Getting the right attention and doses of GH supplements, help those with underactive pituitary glands experience higher levels of energy, better cognitive abilities and mental health, and more strength.
However, as with most medications, there are possible side effects. Using GH can lead to headaches, joint and muscle pain, edema, carpal tunnel syndrome, some hypertension, problems with vision, numbness, nausea, vomiting, and even some reports of cancer.
But even with possible, though rare, side effects, people are still turning to GH. This remarkable hormone has so many positive effects on the body that there are new medications and supplements being formulated to include them popping up all the time. GH has also been shown to help improve athletic ability, muscle capacity, strength, endurance, and also reduce signs of aging.