Human growth hormone or HGH deficiency is most talked about health issues in young kids but it’s a condition that can affect adults as well. Known as adult-onset growth hormone deficiency or simply, adult GH deficiency, you need to know about the condition and its symptoms to seek treatment on time.
What is adult-onset HGH deficiency?
Adult-onset growth hormone deficiency occurs when there is not enough secretion of growth hormone by the pituitary gland.
HGH deficiency in adults is a recognized medical condition. When the pituitary gland in the brain gradually declines the production of growth hormone, which is also responsible for the release of another important hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), complications occur. Both the hormones, HGH, and IGF-1 are responsible for growth during childhood and to maintain physical performance and psychological well-being in adults. The growth hormone also has a widespread effect on the metabolic activities of the body.
HGH deficiency in adults is classified depending on at what stage of life it occurs and when for the first time it is diagnosed. Some adults are growth hormone deficient as kids (childhood-onset growth hormone deficiency) but weren’t diagnosed for the condition, while others become growth hormone-deficient once they reach adult years (adult-onset).
What are the causes of HGH deficiency in Adults?
In most cases, adult-onset HGH deficiency is caused due to damaged pituitary gland. There can be several reasons for the pituitary gland to become a faulty one-a tumor, damage caused due to radiotherapy or side effects of surgery. Among other reasons, a severe head injury or autoimmune disease can also cause interference in the blood supply to the pituitary gland.
In some adults, childhood conditions like Sheehan’s syndrome, which causes a loss of function of the pituitary gland due to severe blood loss are also found to result in growth hormone deficiency.
Furthermore, some genetic abnormalities like Prader-Willi syndrome and Turner syndrome result in abnormal development of the pituitary gland causing HGH deficiency. Generally, in most individuals, adult HGH deficiency is a natural side effect of aging that causes a gradual decline in the secretion of the growth hormone.
How do I know if I have HGH deficiency?
We discussed what are the causes of HGH deficiency, but more importantly, as an adult, you must be aware of the symptoms. Among adults, this condition can present a wide range of symptoms. In severe cases, HGH deficiency symptoms are more evident as they reduce the ability to function both psychologically and physically, dramatically lowering the quality of life.
HGH deficiency symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition, but most common indications include:
- Unexplained decrease in muscle bulk and strength
- Impaired concentration and memory
- Increase in fat, especially around the waist
- Abnormalities of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol levels
- Abnormalities in the blood circulation
- Osteoporosis resulting in brittle bones
- Low energy levels
- Decreased stamina
If you have two or more of these symptoms without any underlying medical condition, then you need to be alert and discuss the risk of HGH deficiency with your doctor.
There is no simple answer to ‘How do I know if I have HGH deficiency’, it is better to be proactive and notice the HGH deficiency symptoms listed here.
Adult-onset growth hormone deficiency is more common than you think
It is estimated by several studies that at any given time, approximately 1 in every 10,000 people in the US suffer from adult HGH deficiency. If we combine the adults with childhood-onset and adult-onset HGH deficiency then the numbers become 3 in every 10,000 people. This implies at any given time there are approximately 12,600 adults with HGH deficiency in the United States.
How do you test for HGH deficiency?
A common misconception is that adult-onset growth hormone deficiency is an inherited condition. Few rare genetic abnormalities can result in HGH deficiency but in most cases, the underlying cause can be easily diagnosed.
The most common test for HGH deficiency in adults is the ‘Insulin Tolerance Test.’
The test involves injecting the patient with insulin to lower his blood sugar level. This puts stress on the body, causing a reaction that the body copes with the release of growth hormone. If the body fails to produce enough growth hormone in response to insulin-induced stress, it is a confirmation of HGH deficiency.
However, it is important to understand that an insulin tolerance test is not for everyone. Patients with heart disease or epilepsy are not fit for this HGH deficiency test. In such patients, it can cause unpleasant symptoms. There are alternative tests available that utilize growth hormone-releasing hormone, arginine, or glucagon for inducing GH release.
The test for HGH deficiency in adults usually takes two to four hours. Usually, patients are asked not to eat anything before these tests.
What problems are associated with HGH deficiency?
We already mentioned what are the common side effects that can result from HGH deficiency in adults. Apart from common symptoms like reduced lean muscle mass, increased fat, lower energy, and poor cognitive abilities, there are many long-term implications of adult-onset growth hormone deficiency as well.
Increased risk of heart disease and strokes can result from the physical changes that occur in adults due to growth hormone deficiency. Poor cholesterol increased fat and disturbed blood circulation act as a precursor to many cardiac diseases. It is important to keep a healthy lifestyle and weight under control to prevent such risks.
Another condition that people with adult-onset HGH deficiency are prone to be developing osteoporosis or brittle bones. Such people are always at higher risk of developing fractures from minor injuries. To reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a diet rich in calcium and enough vitamin D supplements with a moderate amount of weight-bearing exercise and resistance training, can be extremely helpful.
How is adult-onset growth hormone deficiency treated?
HGH deficiency in adults can be treated with growth hormone replacement therapy. For medical purposes and patients with genetic conditions, an artificial preparation of synthetic growth hormone is used.
Fortunately, for most age-induced HGH deficiency cases, it is not necessary to be dependent on synthetic growth hormones. Oral HGH supplements offer the much-needed therapeutic benefits preventing all the associated side effects of synthetic products.
Top HGH supplements like GenF20 Plus and HyperGH 14X are natural growth hormone releasers that stimulate the dormant somatotropic cells in the pituitary gland. This increases the secretion of natural growth hormone in the blood that also boosts IGF-1 production.
Don’t ignore the signs of adult HGH deficiency
The right therapy to deal with growth hormone deficiency in adults can only be decided after proper testing and consultation. If you have been feeling lethargic and do not enjoy things that you previously used to, it is a telltale sign of declining HGH levels in your blood.
Hope our shared knowledge on HGH deficiency will help you better manage the condition.