This website is intended for an Australian and New Zealand audience who are interested in acromegaly
This website is intended for an Australian and New Zealand audience who are interested in acromegaly

Is it a symptom or sign?

A symptom is something that a person can feel or report to a healthcare professional, such as having a headache, joint aches or excessive sweating.

A sign is something that a healthcare professional finds upon examination, such as an altered jawline, having unusually thick skin or high blood pressure.

Features of acromegaly

How does acromegaly affect people?

Acromegaly can affect people in different ways.

A common sign of acromegaly is enlarged hands and feet. People with acromegaly often notice that their rings are not fitting on their fingers or their gloves are feeling tighter. They may also find that their shoes feel smaller or their shoe size has increased over time.

Over many years the shape of the face may change if the condition is not recognised and treated.  Gradual bone changes in the face may cause the nose and brow to enlarge, the lower jaw may protrude and gaps between the teeth may start to widen or teeth become misaligned.  The voice may also deepen and become huskier as the vocal cords thicken.

These changes develop gradually.  You, and even those close to you who see you every day, may not notice them for some time.  In fact, friends or family who may not have seen you in a while or a new healthcare professional may be the first to notice physical changes that suggest you may have acromegaly.

Some people with acromegaly may experience changes to their eyesight, or may have nonspecific symptoms such as aching joints, general tiredness, headaches or feeling low in mood.

In women aged 40 or older, symptoms may be wrongly attributed to the start of the menopause.

Excessive snoring that your partner complains about or not sleeping well, gradually gaining weight, and sweating excessively are other features of acromegaly.

Acromunity Fast Facts:  Acromegaly diagnosis is often delayed

The diagnosis of acromegaly is often delayed because the features develop gradually and are not specific at first.  The average time taken for diagnosis is 6 years. They may also be wrongly attributed to the normal aging process.

As a result it is not uncommon for people to remain undiagnosed for several years.

Read about the diagnosis of acromegaly >

Could your symptoms be due to acromegaly?

Take a look at the Acromegaly Symptoms and Signs Checklist below that lists some of the symptoms that people with acromegaly may experience and doctors may ask about when diagnosing Acromegaly.

If you answer yes to several of these questions or you suspect that you could have acromegaly it is important that you speak to your doctor.  If your doctor suspects you have acromegaly, they may refer you to a specialist who treats people with endocrine disorders.

Remember that symptoms and signs of acromegaly can be nonspecific and may take several years to emerge.

It is important to consult a healthcare professional if you have not already been diagnosed as the information provided here is not intended to replace professional advice.

“You don’t have to have all the symptoms to have a problem; my symptoms were not making me ill”

Maria, Living with acromegaly

Symptoms and signs of acromegaly checklist

A positive tick for any of the boxes does not necessarily mean that you have acromegaly. For further information and to discuss this checklist, please see your healthcare professional.

Over the past few years:
1. Has your shoe size changed? For example, are your shoes feeling tighter, or have you gone up a shoe size? q
2. Have you noticed any change in the size of your hands?  For example, have you needed to buy bigger gloves or noticed a change in your ring size? q
3. Have you or your dentist noticed any changes to your bite or jaw shape? q
4. Have your teeth become more spaced out or misaligned? q
5. Does your tongue feel too big for your mouth or bigger than it should? q
6. Have your noticed any changes in your voice? Has it become deeper or huskier? q
7. Have you regularly had trouble sleeping or do often feel tired in the day? q
8. Has anyone told you that you snore at night, and sometimes stop breathing during your sleep?  If you sleep alone, do you wake up with a dry mouth, or sometimes awake from your sleep gasping for air? q
9. Have you had regular or painful headaches? q
10. Have you noticed any changes in your eyesight? q
11. Have you found that you sweat a lot more than before? q
12. Have you experienced joint pain on a regular basis? q
13. Have you experienced any low mood that you cannot really explain? q
14.  Has the normal pattern of your periods changed? q
15. Do you feel tired more than usual on a regular basis that has stopped you doing things? q
16. Have you stopped doing or avoided doing any activities because it is too painful to complete them? q

Download a copy of these questions:

Acromegaly symptoms and signs checklist (MS Word)

Acromegaly symptoms and signs checklist (PDF)

Tagged:

About acromegaly

Follow this topic

Rate this content

No votes yet.
Please wait...

Find out more about acromegaly

Diagnosing acromegaly

Find out how acromegaly is diagnosed and the tests that healthcare professionals may use to assess acromegaly symptoms

Diagnosis & Testing

Treating acromegaly

Read about acromegaly treatment options, including surgery, medications and radiotherapy, and the goals of therapy

Treating acromegaly

Acromegaly FAQs

Read and hear answers to some common questions that patients with acromegaly have asked

View FAQs
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Click here for more information.
Ipsen
Please always consult a healthcare professional if you require healthcare advice or if you have any specific concerns regarding your acromegaly, its treatment or side effects. The information provided here is not intended to replace professional advice. This website has been developed by Ipsen in collaboration with those living with acromegaly and the healthcare professionals who care for them. Ipsen would like to thank everyone for their valuable insights and stories. All names used on this website are not necessarily real names. Visit our website for more information about us, or to contact us directly. Website design and development by Kanga Health Ltd. Website reference SOM-AU-000710 Last reviewed 7 July 2020 Ipsen Pty Ltd Level 2, Building 4, Brandon Office Park, 540 Springvale Road, Glen Waverley, VIC 3150 Australia Ipsen Pty Ltd, ABN 47 095 036 909.