The abnormal growth of bone in the hands, feet and face caused by over-production of growth hormone in adulthood.
A polymer made up of amino acids joined by peptide bonds. The amino acids present and the order in which they occur vary from one protein to another.
Over-growth of the long bones caused by too much growth hormone being produced in childhood.
A lack of growth hormone in childhood results in a failure of the long bones to grow and in an adult of short stature.
Growth is a complex process and requires the coordination of several hormones of which the main one is growth hormone. It is produced by the pituitary gland and acts on the liver, stimulating it to produce another hormone. It is this second hormone, which directly affects the growth of bone and muscle. Growth hormone also helps to control the body´s use of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Babies´ length, mass and head size are routinely measured during the first few months of life. Growth problems may be highlighted when the results are plotted on Average Growth Charts, although such charts are used only as a guide.
In children, if there is not enough growth hormone, growth does not happen at the normal rate and this can result in dwarfism. The treatment for this deficiency is to give the child growth hormone which, nowadays, is produced by genetic engineering.