It's hard to pronounce and even harder to live with. Acromegaly (ak-ro-meg-uh-lee)
is a chronic, life-threatening disease triggered by overproduction of
growth hormone, most often caused by a pituitary tumor. Untreated, this
excess of growth hormone leads to overproduction of a second hormone,
IGF-I, which causes the disabling symptoms and the long-term health problems
associated with the disorder.
Patients with acromegaly
often suffer from headache, excessive sweating, soft-tissue swelling,
joint disorders and, perhaps most striking, a progressive coarsening of
facial features and enlargement of the hands, feet and jaw. Untreated
patients with acromegaly face a mortality rate two to four times higher
than the average person, due to such serious long-term complications as
heart and respiratory diseases, diabetes and some forms of cancer.
This week, physicians
from all over the world are gathered in Boston for a first-of-its-kind
medical conference to hear the latest, cutting-edge research findings
on acromegaly and other growth hormone disorders.
Kiel, Accomplished screen actor, writer and producer who is most famous
for his role as James Bond's steel-toothed nemesis "Jaws" in
The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. An instantly recognizable TV and movie
villain for four decades whose films also include Happy Gilmore and The
Silver Streak, Mr. Kiel is a person living with acromegaly who discusses
from personal experience the debilitating symptoms of the disease and
its effect on his quality of life.
-- Laurence Katznelson, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical
-- Photos from Richard Kiel's autobiography
-- Animation of the pituitary gland
-- Graphic of acromegaly symptoms