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Gigantism – Pictures, What is?, Symptoms, Causes, Types

What is Gigantism?

Gigantism is a medical condition characterized by excessive height and growth that is above the normal average. It is brought about by the excessive production of the growth hormone which occurs during childhood, days before the closure of the growth plates. Persons who have gigantism have excessive insulin-like growth factor. It is a rare condition. It affects the endocrine system, known as the growth and development regulator.

Gigantism pictures

A 12 year old boy with Gigantism barely fits in with the height of the door.

Gigantism Symptoms

In people who have gigantism, the commonly observed and prominent signs are an abnormally tall height. The symptoms of this condition are evident during childhood at a very young age. The other symptoms associated with gigantism are as follows:

  • Fatigue
  • Jaw is large
  • Big hands
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficulty in visual aspects peripherally
  • Puberty retardation
  • Headache
  • Deafness
  • Facial features thickens
  • Fingers and toes are thick
  • Frontal bossing
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Releasing of breast milk or galactorrhea

If gigantism can’t be cured or treated, complications associated with gigantism can be severe. However, the risk of complication can be deducted when early treatments and diagnoses is made.

Gigantism Causes

As mentioned earlier, the cause of gigantism is the overproduction of the endocrine hormone, particularly the growth hormone which typically occurs in children before the closure of the growth plates of the bone.  Other reason behind gigantism includes:

  • Neurofibromatosis

This medical condition deals with the genetic disorder that causes growth of the tumor.

  • Carney complex

This deals with the rare medical condition of the gene mutation which leads to a high risk of pituitary tumor like adenoma.

  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1

This condition is an inherited one which leads to the endocrine tumors and makes it hyperactive.

  • Benign pituitary gland tumors

The presence of benign pituitary gland tumors will lead to the pressing of the pituitary gland and lead to the excessive production of the growth hormone. This is the common reason of gigantism.

  • McCune Albright syndrome

This syndrome is brought about by a mutation of the gene.

Gigantism Types

  1. Deep Sea

Deep sea gigantism is otherwise known as abyssal gigantism. It occurs in animals in species of invertebrates, crustaceans and other kinds of deep sea dwelling animals that display a bigger size than they normally would have. Examples of animals that are considered to be part of the deep sea gigantism are the Japanese spider crab, king of herrings, giant isopod and amphipod.

  1. Cerebral

Cerebral gigantism is a type of gigantism which is often called as Sotos syndrome that has the characteristics of advancing bone age and overgrowth. People commonly affected are those who have dysmorphic macrodolichocephaly: pointed chin and downslanting fissures in palpebral area. It has an accelerated rate of growth for the first five years minus the elevation of the growth hormonal levels.

  1. Island

It is called as insular gigantism that exists in a biological phenomenon. It is about the phenomenon wherein the size of animals living isolated on an island dramatically increase compared to that of the related animals living in the mainland. The animals living isolated on an island grow large due to the lack of competition and predators as opposed to animals living in the mainland.

  1. Pituitary

This type of gigantism arises because of the presence of pituitary adenoma which secretes growth levels in a high level. This commonly occurs before the epiphyseal growth plate fusion. It is commonly seen in growing children.

Gigantism Facts & Statistics

Historically and statistically speaking, even in the past, gigantism has existed throughout history. There are some tribes and nations that appear taller than the others. It should not be confused or used alternatively with acromegaly which also deals with the increased production of the growth hormone and is seen commonly during puberty level compared to gigantism which occurs during childhood days.

Statistically speaking, the gigantism occurs rarely. There are approximately only 100 cases dealing with gigantism solely in the United States. In addition to that, it occurs mostly in males.

Gigantism Treatment

The goal of gigantism treatment is to reduce the overproduction of the growth hormone. It may be accomplished through the combination of medication, surgery and radiation.

  • Pharmacological treatment

The drugs which can be used in treating gigantism and aims at the reduction, blockage of the growth hormone and preventing the abnormal stature growth are as follows:

    • Sex hormone therapy like testosterone and estrogen
    • Somastostatin Analogs like Lanreotide and octreotide
    • Growth hormone antagonist like pegvisomant
    • Dopamine agonist like cabergoline and bromocriptine mesylate
  • Radiation treatment

This is a good treatment that has been used effectively in the reduction of the growth hormone levels and bringing it into normal level. Yet, the thing about radiation therapy is that the desired results can be seen in five to ten years maximum. Aside from that, side effects can also arise such as alteration of the emotions, disabilities in learning and obesity. This treatment is often is the last treatment option for gigantism.

  • Surgical treatment

This is another effective treatment for gigantism which is aimed at removing the tumor to reduce the abnormally high growth hormone levels. This will work for persons having pituitary tumors which are the reason behind their gigantism.

Gigantism Pictures

Picture of Woman with Gigantism

A woman with gigantism sitting next to a normal womanGigantism pics

Gigantism has been documented even before the early timesGigantism large jaw picture

A woman with gigantism with evident or large jaws. Gigantism large hands pictures

Gigantism also leads to the development of large arms and hands. Gigantism foot image

A picture comparing the foot of a a normal individual to one with gigantism.Images of Gigantism bones

A bone of a giant man was discovered years ago. See the difference in the size of the femur.

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