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Growth hormone deficiency in adults

INTRODUCTION

Growth hormone deficiency in adults is important for two reasons: the evidence that growth hormone deficiency can have adverse effects and the availability of growth hormone preparations for treatment [1,2]. The clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of growth hormone deficiency in adults are discussed here. The decline in growth hormone secretion that occurs as a normal consequence of aging and growth hormone deficiency in children are discussed elsewhere. (See "Endocrine changes with aging" and "Diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency in children" and "Treatment of growth hormone deficiency in children".)

ETIOLOGY

The causes of growth hormone deficiency are the same as the causes of deficiencies of other pituitary hormones (table 1). (See "Causes of hypopituitarism".) A study of 172 adults with hypopituitarism found the following distribution of etiologies [3]:

A pituitary tumor or the consequences of treatment of the tumor, including surgery and/or radiation therapy – 76 percent

An extrapituitary tumor (eg, craniopharyngioma) – 13 percent

Cause unknown – 8 percent

                          

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Literature review current through: Jun 2014. | This topic last updated: Oct 11, 2013.
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