Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD) (Adult)

What is growth hormone deficiency (adult)?

Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in adults is a multifactorial disorder in which the pituitary gland produces insufficient amount of growth hormones that should stimulate the body to grow. Growth hormone (GH) is a protein made by the pituitary gland, which is located near the base of the brain and attached to the hypothalamus (a part of the brain that helps to regulate the pituitary gland). If the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus is malformed or damaged, it may mean that the pituitary gland can’t produce growth hormone. GHD may occur during infancy (congenital) or later in childhood (acquired). 
Risk factors
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary disease or disorder
  • Having undergone cranial ablation
  • History of head trauma
Diagnosis of GHD in adults first involves a patient’s medical history, physical exam, and blood tests that check the secretion of the pituitary hormones and their target organs. Possible tests that may be done are listed: 
  • T4/TSH (to test thyroid function)
  • Cortisol FHS/LH (to test stimulation ability of the ovaries/testes)
  • IGF-1 (an indirect measure of growth hormone)
  • Electrolytes (measures water & salt balance)
  • CT Scan or MRI (for detailed picture of the brain)
Treatment of GHD in adult patients involves growth hormone replacement therapy (GHRT), which normalizes many signs and symptoms of GHD, improves quality of life, and may possibly enhance longevity.
  • Affects approximately 1 per 100,000 people annually.
  • Approximately 6,000 new cases of adults with GHD are diagnosed each year in the US.


about growth hormone deficiency (adult)



  • "Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency." MAGIC Foundation. MAGIC Foundation, n.d. Web. 24 May 2017.
  • "ADULT GROWTH HORMONE DEFICIENCY." Human Growth Foundation. Human Growth Foundation, n.d. Web. 24 May 2017.
  • Morton, Caroline, Dr., and David Hoffman, Dr. "Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency | Symptoms." Pituitary Network Association. Pituitary Network Association, n.d. Web. 24 May 2017.
  • Reed, Mary L., George R. Merriam, and Atil Y. Kargi. "Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency – Benefits, Side Effects, and Risks of Growth Hormone Replacement." Frontiers in Endocrinology. Frontiers Media S.A., 2013. Web. 24 May 2017.

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