GH (growth hormone test): what is it, what is it for and how is it performed

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The growth hormone, also known as GH or somatotropin, is an important hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that acts on the growth of children and adolescents and participates in the body’s metabolic processes.

This exam is carried out with blood samples taken in the laboratory and requested by the endocrinologist, when there is a suspicion of lack of GH production, especially in children, who present a growth under the expected or an excess of production, common in cases of gigantism or acromegaly.

The use of GH as a medicine is indicated when there are deficiencies in the production of this hormone, in children or adults, according to medical indication.

what is it for

The GH exam is requested if you are suspicious of:

  • Dwarfismwhich is the deficiency of the growth hormone in the child, resulting in low stature;
  • GH deficiency in an adultcaused by a production of GH under normal conditions, which causes symptoms such as fatigue, increase in body fat, reduction in muscle mass and strength, decrease in the capacity to perform exercises, reduction in the density of huesos and greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases;
  • Gigantismcharacterized by the excess of GH secretion in the child or adolescent, causing an exaggerated growth;
  • acromegaly, is a syndrome caused by the excess production of GH in adults, causing changes in the appearance of the skin, hands, feet and face. See the differences between acromegaly and gigantism.

The deficiency of GH in the organism can have several causes, such as genetic diseases, brain alterations such as tumors, infections or inflammations, or as a side effect of chemotherapy or brain radiotherapy, for example. The excess of GH is due to a pituitary adenoma.

how is it done

The amount of GH hormone is carried out through the analysis of blood samples in the laboratory and is carried out in 2 ways:

  1. Basal GH levels: it takes place with at least 6 hours of days for children and 8 hours for teenagers and adults, where the levels of this hormone are analyzed in a sample of blood in the morning;
  2. Prevention of GH stimulation (with Clonidine, Insulin, GHRH or Arginine): it is carried out with the use of drugs that can stimulate the secretion of GH, in case of doubt of the lack of this hormone. Tests of blood GH concentration are carried out after 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes of drug use.

The possibility of GH stimulation is necessary, because the production of the GH hormone by the organism is not uniform and can be interfered by several factors, such as ayuno, stress, sweat, sports practice or when the amount of glucose in blood drops. Thus, some of the drugs used are Clonidine, Insulin, Arginine, Glucagon or GHRH, for example, which stimulate the inhibition of hormone production.

Likewise, the doctor may also request other tests, such as levels of IGF-1 hormones or the IGFBP-3 protein, which change with GH variations: Brain magnetic resonance imaging, to evaluate changes in the pituitary, can also be be useful to identify the cause of the problem.

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Consult a Doctor | Translated by User2937

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Isenção de responsabilidade – (versão em português): Este conteúdo foi preparado com base em informações de pesquisas, publicações adicionais ou no trabalho de tradução/verificação de um editor voluntário deste conselho web. Este é um serviço sem fins lucrativos. É altamente recomendável que todos os detalhes e informações publicadas sejam verificadas cuidadosamente. Nunca permitimos recomendações de medicamentos, bulas ou qualquer orientação sobre medicamentos. Nunca permitimos a política partidária como base para checagem. Para mais informações, leia nossos termos.

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