A person who has too little adult growth hormone will have symptoms that include:
- A higher level of body fat, especially around the waist
- Anxiety and depression
- Decreased sexual function and interest
- Feelings of being isolated from other people
- Greater sensitivity to heat and cold
- Less muscle (lean body mass)
- Less strength, stamina and ability to exercise without taking a rest
- Reduced bone density and a tendency to have more bone fractures as they get older
- Changes in the make up of the blood cholesterol.
People with adult growth hormone deficiency have higher than normal levels of low-density lipoproteins in comparison to their high density lipoproteins. They also tend to have higher triglyceride levels. (Triglycerides are another type of fat that circulates in the blood and contributes to blocked blood vessels.)
Causes and Risk Factors
A lack of growth hormone is usually caused by damage to the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that controls the pituitary gland. The damage may be due to a tumor; to surgery or radiation used to treat the tumor; or to problems with the blood supply to the pituitary gland.
In some cases, the lack of growth hormone is due to an injury to the pituitary gland.
A lack of growth hormone can appear either in childhood or in adulthood.