Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that is the result of an excessive production of growth hormone in adults. This is usually due to a tumour on the hypophysis (pituitary gland) that causes it to become overactive, producing excessive growth hormone but has been known to be caused by tumours in other body parts. The condition causes the enlargement of the hands, feet, forehead, jaw and nose but can also cause thicker skin, joint pain and also issues with vision (although this is rare).
Sufferers of acromegaly have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure which means that although a causative tumour may be benign it can cause a cascade of other health issues indirectly.
The condition is usually diagnosed via measuring the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the bloodstream or by measuring the increase in growth hormone after the patient drinks a glucose-rich drink.
Due to the other conditions that arise from acromegaly sufferers tend to have a shorter life expectancy, estimated on average to be around 10 years shorter.