The determination of an adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD) diagnosis requires a close look at the symptoms a man or woman is experiencing, as well as running specific blood tests that measure a variety of hormone levels.
AGHD is a pituitary disorder that occurs when growth hormone levels decline to a point where adverse symptoms begin to appear. It becomes more difficult with each passing year to increase pituitary growth hormone output once the decline begins. Most people start to experience a reduction in growth hormone by the time they reach age 30. Many even in their mid-twenties. Because the decline is slow, symptoms often do not appear until years or even decades later.
Many of the symptoms of AGHD mimic the expected changes that occur with aging. For that reason, many doctors overlook this type of pituitary metabolic disorder. As adult growth hormone levels decline, the symptoms continue to worsen until it gets to the point that they start to impact a person’s life.
For an adult with a growth hormone deficiency (GHD) diagnosis, everything can change once treatment begins to increase growth hormone levels. Following the GHD test, the doctor can determine how much human growth hormone (HGH) an adult needs to restore hormonal balance.
The AGHD test will measure the level of insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the bloodstream. With that information, the doctor can determine if the pituitary gland is producing enough growth hormone or if supplementation is required.
Signs and Symptoms of HGH Deficiency
GHD may not look the same in every person. This occurs because growth hormone has so many functions that it may impact people in numerous ways. The first and one of the most important of all GH functions is that of cellular regeneration. Growth hormone works together with IGF-1 (its mediator) to stimulate the body’s production of new cells. It is essential to increase growth hormone production to ensure that the body has a plentiful supply of new cells to replace the ones dying off each day from the skin, hair, muscles, bones, internal organs, and nails. All the body’s tissues require new cells, making a diagnosis of adult growth hormone deficiency detrimental to the cellular supply chain.
Growth hormone is also crucial for metabolism. In some ways, adult growth hormone deficiency can be seen as a metabolic disorder because GH influences metabolic functions. Weight gain is a common sign of AGHD, as is muscle loss, weakness, and fatigue.
Other signs of AGHD include decreased bone density which increases the risk of osteoporosis, lack of motivation, low libido, and impaired cognitive functions. Many adults who receive a GHD diagnosis speak of depression, poor sleep, anxiety, and mood swings.
A GHD test is helpful in uncovering the reason for high LDL cholesterol levels as well as insulin sensitivity. It is vital for the doctor to order comprehensive blood analysis as part of the AGHD test to ensure an accurate diagnosis. The symptoms of GHD are similar to those of low testosterone, and the wrong treatment will likely have little impact on the problems.
How to Diagnose Adult HGH Deficiency
The diagnosis of adult growth hormone deficiency begins with a consultation with a medical advisor experienced in the field of hormone therapy. Following the consultation, the next step if the GHD test. For this, you will visit a local laboratory to have a blood specimen collected for analysis. The detailed biochemical testing includes the IGF-1 test to measure growth hormone secretion based on IGF-1 blood levels. This particular test is the primary diagnostic factor for determining growth hormone production.
In addition, the GHD test also checks thyroid levels, testosterone, blood count, cholesterol, and many other markers that will help determine if there is any form of metabolic disorder. Aside from the AGHD test, the doctor will also review the results of a physical examination to rule out other health concerns and ensure your candidacy for HGH therapy.
The doctor will also use the results of the IGF-1 test and exam to determine the correct dosage of HGH necessary to provide hormonal balance to the body.
Treatment for HGH Deficiency
Treatment to increase pituitary hormone levels depends on the severity of the GHD diagnosis. The lower a person’s growth hormone levels, the more the doctor will have to intervene to boost HGH levels. If an adult is in the preliminary stages of GHD, then lifestyle changes may be all that is necessary to increase growth hormone pituitary output. Options to use to help the body increase natural GH secretion include:
- Getting enough sleep (7 to 9 hours)
- Exercising regularly
- Losing weight
- Reducing stress
- Intermittent fasting
If the IGF-1 test shows a decline in GH production accompanied by some early-stage symptoms, the hormone specialist may recommend sermorelin therapy. Sermorelin helps prevent further GHD by stimulating the pituitary gland to secrete additional growth hormone.
For people facing an adult growth hormone deficiency diagnosis accompanied by widespread symptoms of the disorder, HGH injection therapy is the best option. HGH injections make up for what the body does not provide by administering a supplemental dose of GH to the body. Some people may also receive sermorelin in conjunction with HGH to both immediately increase HGH levels as well as boost GH production.
If you are ready to learn more about getting a GHD test and treatment options for AGHD, please contact our clinic for a free consultation. Left untreated, GHD can lead to the disorder known as metabolic syndrome, which puts a person at significant risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attack. Do not put off the simple test to determine low GH levels.