What Happens to Your Heart with Growth Hormone?
What Happens to Your Heart with Growth Hormone?
Inadequate levels of HGH (Human Growth hormone) may cause heart problems.
Individuals with human growth hormone deficiency may develop heart problems. On the other hand, someone with high levels of HGH, such as those with acromegaly, a hormonal condition that develops when the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone during adulthood, may also experience heart problems.
A study in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests that growth hormone treatment may reduce heart problems in adults with growth hormone deficiency. In addition, hormone therapy may cause beneficial changes in an individual’s heart who have some heart disorder without a growth hormone deficiency.
You should always check with your physician before starting HGH therapy. Since the only legal form of growth hormone treatment is by prescription, a medical evaluation from a professional is necessary.
HEART CONDITIONS THAT MAY BENEFIT FROM GROWTH HORMONE THERAPY
A Journal Pediatrics article states that adults with growth hormone deficiency may develop heart problems due to the following:
- Decreased left ventricular mass
- Decreased exercise tolerance
- Increased visceral fat accumulation
- High serum lipid levels
Growth hormone treatment may help treat many of the changes above.
The Journal of Endocrinology warns that having growth hormone levels that are either too high or too low frequently leads to cardiac function, which could reduce a person’s active life. The article suggests that growth hormones could be effective in preventing heart failure.
HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE (HGH) 101
The body produces growth hormones in the pituitary gland. The pituitary is a tiny organ about the size of a kidney bean. If the pituitary is not functioning correctly, an individual may produce too much growth hormone, as in acromegaly, or too little growth hormone, as in growth hormone deficiency.
When the pituitary gland does not function properly, the patient has hypopituitarism. Growth hormone may be the result of hypopituitarism.
Harvard Medical School declares that the pancreas, intestinal tract, and hypothalamus in the brain produce multiple hormones that may affect the amount of growth hormone the body has. As a result, growth hormone helps the body produce needed proteins, burn fat, use insulin, and increase blood sugar levels and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).
Individuals with growth hormone deficiency may get these benefits from growth hormone therapy:
- Increased muscle mass
- Increased endurance for workouts
- Better overall energy
- Lower chance of developing heart disease later in life
- Stronger bones that are less likely to fracture
It is essential to understand that results will vary from one person to another.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF GROWTH HORMONE DEFICIENCY
Depending on the cause of an individual’s growth hormone deficiency, signs of the disorder may develop gradually over many years or appear suddenly. According to the Mayo Clinic, an individual with growth hormone deficiency may have the following signs and symptoms:
- Weak muscles, decreased muscle mass
- Low strength and energy
- Feeling tired
- Decreased strength and exercise tolerance
- Decreased motivation
- Change in the distribution of fat throughout the body
- Lack of interest in social activities
- Anxiety or depression
Likewise, the above factors may lead to the following clinical manifestations:
- Workouts in the gym achieving unacceptable results
- Sleep disturbances
- Depression and loss of ambition
- Less libido
- Accumulation of fat around the waistline
- Body takes on an undesirable shape that does not respond positively to diet and exercise
- As fat increases and muscle mass decreases, some body areas may begin to sag
- Decreased weight control, weight gain
Treating the underlying growth hormone deficiency may correct many of the above problems.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF GROWTH HORMONE DEFICIENCY IN CHILDREN
The most frequent sign or symptom of growth hormone deficiency in children is a growth slowing to less than two inches yearly. A child with growth hormone deficiency may also have the following signs and symptoms:
- Feeling troubled by their height
- Increased fat around the waist and in the face
- Short height for the child’s age
- The child may look younger than other children the same age
- Delayed tooth development
- The delayed onset of puberty
HOW IS GROWTH HORMONE DEFICIENCY DETECTED?
For children, the physician will ask about the child’s medical record. For example, if the child has the height and weight plotted on a growth chart, the physician will assess whether the child’s growth appears to be leveling off or deviating from the child’s established growth curve.
The above growth patterns are essential in determining whether the child has a growth problem; the earlier the physician detects the problem, the sooner the doctor can treat it (if possible), and the greater the chances that the child will reach their full growth potential.
The physician or healthcare provider may perform blood tests to determine if there is a hormone deficiency or other disease. The doctor may also take X-rays to check how the child’s bone size compares to the child’s height and chronological age.
In adults, the doctor may have to take blood tests to determine if there is a hormone deficiency. They take these blood samples because adults with growth hormone deficiency may also have elevated total cholesterol levels, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, and triglycerides.
Your healthcare provider or physician may also perform other tests, including the following:
- CT scan (computed tomography)
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the brain and bones
Images from the previous tests may reveal tumors or reduced bone density.
HOW IS GROWTH HORMONE DEFICIENCY TREATED?
Physicians may treat patients with growth hormone deficiency with growth hormone replacement therapy. First, and as the main action, the doctor injects somatropin or growth hormone (Nutropin, Genotropin, Norditropin, Saizen, Humatrope, Tev-tropin, Omnitrope) into the fat under the skin.
Although doctors initially used growth hormone to treat growth hormone deficiency (this group of patients responds best to growth hormone therapy), there have been other conditions for which growth hormone therapy was approved. These conditions include the following:
- Turner syndrome
- Chronic renal failure
- Prader-Will syndrome
- Children who were small for gestational age and did not reach growth by the age of two.
In 2003, the FDA approved using growth hormone for children with “idiopathic short stature.” “Idiopathic short stature” is when children are too short (more than 2.25 SD below average height) and are unlikely to have an adult height in the normal range.
HOW TO PREVENT DIFFICULTIES AND PROBLEMS WITH GROWTH HORMONE THERAPY
Sometimes individuals ignore their physician’s advice and take a much higher dose of human growth hormone (HGH) than prescribed. Elevated growth hormone levels may cause many harmful complications, as can any prescription drug if abused.
Although it may be tempting to believe that if the therapy produces good results, taking more will make it work better, HGH does not work that way. Instead, increased energy and endurance, larger muscle mass, and unwanted fat burning may lead an individual to want to take too much human growth hormone to improve athletic performance or appearance.
Unfortunately, that mindset may be backfiring and lead to diminished results.
THE HAZARDS OF USING GROWTH HORMONES WITHOUT A PRESCRIPTION
Growth hormone treatment is a controlled substance. The drug is only legally available by prescription. A trainer or training partner may offer to sell human growth hormones, but a wise individual should refuse it. It is illegal if the substance contains HGH (human growth hormone).
On the other hand, if the product does not contain HGH, the buying individual is wasting money. The item could be “spiked” with dangerous chemicals.
Even though many supplements on the market claim to help the body produce more growth hormones, no medical investigation supports those claims.
Using unproven over-the-counter substances or human growth hormones without a prescription could cause heart problems, depending on the chemicals in those products.
A wise choice is to see a doctor to evaluate growth hormone levels. If the individual has a growth hormone deficiency, the physician can prescribe an effective treatment tailored to the individual’s needs and goals.
Modern Heart and Vascular Institute aims to provide you with information but does not try to substitute the medical opinion of your physician or healthcare provider. Instead, ask your physician or healthcare provider for advice or guidance on your medical condition.
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At Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, we will be delighted to answer your questions about circumstances and actions that could impact your heart. Our specialized cardiologists may help you control, predict, foresee, and manage all the characteristics of your cardiovascular condition.
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