What is Growth Hormone?
These days there is a lot of hype about growth hormone therapy. But, before elaborating on this therapy, let’s shed some light on what growth hormone is; as suggested by Dr. Marina Johnson. It’s a hormone that is synthesized in our body. Pituitary gland, located underneath the brain, secretes this hormone. Pituitary gland is the main gland of the endocrine system. It is responsible for the regulation of all hormonal production in the body. Growth hormone is also responsible for making a child develop into a full-grown adult. The U.S. FDA approved growth hormone in 1996 for adults, who have not grown properly.
Growth Hormone Deficiency and Related Conditions
Considering the need of growth hormone therapy, Dr. Marina discusses some symptoms of growth hormone deficiency that include fatigue, lack of energy, depression, improper sleep, fat deposition around the waist and loss in muscle tone. Adults, who lack growth hormone are more likely to have disease of the heart with increased susceptibility of developing diabetes , stroke and hypertension.
Diagnosis of Growth-hormone-Deficiency
Dr. Marina explains that for diagnosing growth hormone deficiency, a person is made to go through a stimulation test for observing that whether the pituitary gland is able to make growth hormone or not. Growth Hormone Therapy (GTH) targets such persons. People, who take growth hormone therapy without supervision of a doctor have more chances of suffering from deleterious side effects.
According to Dr. Johnson, with age, there is a reduction in the growth hormone and it doesn’t mean that growth hormone therapy is required. In aged individuals, there is muscle mass loss, called sarcopenia, which affects their vitality and health. Intense physical exercise can slow down aging signs.
Cost of Growth Hormone Therapy
In the U.S., the cost of growth hormone therapy was earlier more than 1000 USD a month. Now, the cost has come down to 500 to 600 USD a month. Dr. Marina says that the requirement of growth hormone is more in women as compared to men. Insurance can also cover the treatment cost. Even if it does not get covered by insurance, there is a big cost of not getting the deficiency treated, which is basically the cost associated with manifestation and treatment of other diseases like diabetes , high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and stroke.
What Happens When You Start Taking Growth Hormone Therapy?
Dr. Marina says when you start growth hormone therapy, fat near the waist and belly starts reducing. Further, lean muscle mass also increases. In people, who are deficient of the hormone, taking growth hormone improves the strength and size of the heart. She warns that growth hormone therapy should not be thought of as a remedy or cure-it-all option for obesity and related conditions.
Benefits of Growth Hormone Therapy
Dr. Marina Johnson has laid down some benefits of Growth Hormone Therapy (GTH). A secondary benefit of GTH is that it increases skin thickness. People say that after growth hormone therapy, they found their skin to be firmer and tighter and hence, fewer wrinkles with very little skin sagging. She adds that in some people, increase in growth of hair has also been observed. If a person wishes to go for some cosmetic surgery, it will help to go through endocrine evaluation for ensuring that all the hormones, including growth hormones are in balance.
Dr. Marina Johnson explains that people with growth hormone deficiency may also be short of other hormones like estrogen, testosterone, DHEA and so, must be properly evaluated for any such deficiencies. Studies say that around 80% of people deficient in these hormones were deficient in growth hormone as well.
Side Effects of Growth Hormone Therapy
Dr. Johnson says that growth hormone is quite nicely tolerated by the body as it is present naturally in the body. Nevertheless, there are some side effects too associated with the therapy, such as swelling, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and rise in blood sugar, but these are temporary and once the dose is stopped, the symptoms disappear gradually.
What Can Cause Deficiency of Growth Hormone?
According to Dr. Marina, there is no specific age at which a person can face deficiency of growth hormone. It can happen at any age. Many times, people go undiagnosed with serious consequences. Any incident like brain injury, or traumatic and inflammatory injury to head can cause deficiency of growth hormone and other pituitary hormones.
Dr. Marina Johnson says that it is important to know that growth hormone deficiency is an endocrine disorder. The deficiency could be caused by a brain disorder or tumor, which requires surgical treatment. The deficiency of growth hormone is treated by an endocrinologist. When proper management and diagnosis is done for individuals deficient in growth hormone, patients can get reimbursements from their respective insurance companies – for tests in labs, visits to physicians as well as growth hormone therapy.
Thus, when a person, who is deficient in growth hormone, is treated with GHT, he/she will start growing faster in months. There could be other benefits like increase in stamina and strength, reduced body fat and better motor development.