With age, growth hormone drops in adulthood and precipitously late in life, leading to several debilitating effects. Growth hormone replacement therapy can give back what time and nature take away. This is the most common treatment for growth hormone deficiency in children and adults.
In 1985, growth hormone treatment was first synthesized due to its important functions. Later on, the Food and Drug Administration approved it for the following uses:
- Treatment for poor growth, genetic disorders affecting girls’ development, the short stature of unknown causes, chronic kidney disease, genetic disorders causing low levels of hormones and a constant feeling of hunger, and deficiency of human growth hormone.
- Treatment of a muscle-wasting disease related to HIV/AIDS and human growth hormone deficiency due to rare pituitary tumors. Some adults also use it as a performance-enhancing drug in bodybuilding and for improving athletic performance. However, the latter two have not been FDA-approved.
What Are Growth Hormone Deficiencies?
The best time to begin with growth hormone therapy would be difficult to pinpoint since growth hormone deficiencies occur at any age. However, the best time to start growth hormone injections is as soon as symptoms appear and once diagnosed with a GHD (Growth Hormone Deficiency).
In children, the signs and symptoms of GHD may include:
- Delayed growth milestones
- Delayed puberty
- Delayed beard appearance
- Chubby body type is “pear-shaped.”
- Prominent forehead
- Immature appearance concerning peers
- Underdeveloped bridge of the nose
Most importantly, the easiest recognizable sign that the child may need growth hormone therapy is the failure to achieve normal height and growth benchmarks for a given age.
For adults, the signs and symptoms of GHD may include the following:
- Decreased sexual function & interest
- Difficulty with concentration
- Disturbed sleep
- Elevated LDL levels (bad cholesterol)
- Heart problems
- Inability to build muscle despite working out
- Memory difficulties
- Mood swings
- Putting on weight, particularly belly fat
- Sensitivity to extremes in temperature
- Thin, dry skin
How Does Growth Hormone Treatment Work?
Once diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency, the pediatric endocrinologist will discuss the pros and cons of this treatment. To determine its safety and efficacy, the Growth Hormone treatment is manufactured in the laboratory to be identical to the ones produced by the pituitary gland.
Moreover, growth hormone is given through a subcutaneous injection, which means it goes into the fatty tissue beneath the skin’s surface. It can be provided by a special injection device that looks like a pen. Since it is such a shallow injection, the needle is tiny and painless.
What Pros and Cons Does Growth Hormone Treatment Provide?
- It helps maintain a healthy weight management lifestyle, and obese people do not need serious weight loss programs once they start this therapy.
- Reduces the risk of coming up with cardiovascular diseases among adults
- Increases muscle strength, thereby improving their physical capability and exercise performance for adults
- Stimulates the body’s bone-forming cells, thereby leading to increased bone mass and stronger bones
- Administration of growth hormone has been found to help speed up fracture healing.
- Studies have shown that growth hormone therapy helps in improving overall health.
- Administering growth hormones helps in having better sleep.
- Enhances cell regeneration since it associated with increased red blood cells production
- A noticeable increase in the production of collagen and elastin
- Provides sharper vision
- Firms and tights skin with a possible cellulite and wrinkles reduction
- It offers stronger nails and more lush hair growth
- Lowers LDL cholesterol and an associated decrease in digestive issues, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and acid reflux
- Enhances appearance, sleep, and mental functions and increases a sense of well-being that leads to an increase in motivation, drive, productivity, and mental and physical performance
- Increases interest in sexual activity as the cerebral bio-chemistry evens out and hormone fluctuations decrease.
- Enhanced sexual performance and pleasure
- Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes due to greater glucose uptake
- Increases function and size of internal organs to return to healthy abilities
Although growth hormone injections are considered safe, Growth Hormone (GH) treatment carries some risks and concerns, like all medications. However, most issues arise due to the misunderstanding of the correct usage of this product, leading to overuse or abuse. Keep in mind that overusing and abusing this treatment against a doctor’s order can contribute to adverse reactions, including:
- Acne and other skin irritations were occasionally reported.
- Headaches, possibly due to high blood pressure
- Fluid retention and swelling (edema) in hands and feet
- Greater risk of type 2 diabetes as the body’s insulin uptake capabilities are hindered.
- Increased cholesterol numbers
- Increase in flushing or hot flashes among women
- Male breast enlargement
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is a numbness and tingling sensation in the hands and fingers.
- Occasional allergic reaction at the injection site, including rash or itching
- Stiffness and pain in the nerves, joints, and muscles
- Some studies have found an increased chance of heart attack and stroke, especially in children who take HGH for an extended period.
- Greater chance of limited sperm production and testicular shrinkage in men
However, many, if not all, of these symptoms and risks can be averted with proper diagnosis and careful management of dosage. If side effects become problematic, that can often be resolved by reducing the dosage amounts while continuing to allow the benefits associated with GH therapy.
Who Should Not Receive The Growth Hormone Treatment?
The following should not take growth hormones:
- Those with cancer or tumor
- Those with multiple trauma injuries
- People suffering from severe breathing problems
A growth hormone deficiency could increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, strokes, and high blood pressure if left untreated.
The Bottom Line
Growth hormone treatment is for a child with growth far below the expected levels or for adults seeking to address weight gain, muscle loss, chronic fatigue, poor sleep, or impaired mental function. Integra Care Medical Care and Aesthetics offer Growth Hormonal Therapy to help growth hormones regain proper balance for weight control and normal growth. Ultimately, Integra Care’s vision is to provide personalized care and results that help achieve health and aesthetic goals.