Human Growth Hormone (HGH) Serum Test
The Human Growth Hormone (HGH) Serum Test measures blood levels to help diagnose GH deficiency or excess, evaluate pituitary function, and monitor treatment efficacy.
What is the purpose of this test?
Order this Human Growth Hormone (HGH) Serum Test, which helps diagnose GH deficiency or excess, evaluate pituitary function, and monitor treatment efficacy. Growth hormone (GH) is critical in human growth and development, especially during childhood. It is a complex peptide hormone that regulates various physiological processes in the body. It is secreted by the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain that controls the release of several hormones in the body. GH stimulates linear bone growth from birth until puberty, ensuring that children grow at a normal rate. It also promotes the production of lipids, proteins, and glucose from food (metabolism) and regulates the body's energy expenditure. In addition, GH helps regulate the production of red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen in the body, and contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.
The secretion of GH is regulated by complex feedback mechanisms that involve several other hormones in the body. The pituitary gland releases GH in pulses throughout the day and night, with the highest levels occurring during deep sleep. Because of this pulsatile release, a single measurement of GH in the blood is not clinically useful. The interpretation of GH levels requires multiple measurements over time to establish a baseline and detect abnormalities.
In summary, GH is a master hormone that plays a crucial role in regulating growth, metabolism, and other physiological processes in the body. A complex interplay of hormones regulates its secretion, and its effects on the body are diverse and far-reaching.
What conditions cause abnormal HGH levels?
In some cases, children are born with a GH deficiency, while in others, it may develop later due to an injury or tumor in the brain. This condition can lead to a decrease in pituitary function and result in reduced production of pituitary hormones, also known as hypopituitarism. Sometimes, the cause of the deficiency is unknown and is referred to as idiopathic. In adults, growth hormone helps regulate bone density, muscle mass, glucose, and lipid metabolism, as well as heart and kidney function. Deficiencies may begin in childhood or develop in adulthood, often due to damage to the pituitary gland caused by head injury, brain tumor, surgery, or radiation treatment, which can result in hypopituitarism.
Excess GH is caused by a pituitary tumor that produces GH, leading to gigantism in children and acromegaly in adults. Symptoms include bone lengthening or thickening, skin thickening, sweating, fatigue, headaches, and joint pain. The tumor can be treated with drugs or surgery. If left untreated, it can cause complications such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, and a decreased lifespan.
When should I order an HGH Serum Test?
Individuals may order this test if they have experienced symptoms related to an HGH deficiency or excess. Common signs and symptoms of HGH deficiency or hypopituitarism include:
- Decreased bone density
- Adverse lipid changes, such as high cholesterol
- Reduced exercise tolerance
Signs and symptoms of HGH excess include:
- Skin thickening
- Joint pain
- Enlarged hands and feet
- Enlarged facial bones
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Abnormally enlarged internal organs
- Skin tags
- Intestinal polyps
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