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Tijdschr Psychiatr. 2016;58(11):794-802.

[Acromegaly: recognition of a rare disease in psychiatric practice].

[Article in Dutch]


Acromegaly is a rare disease which is caused by a tumour in the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. The tumour stimulates excessive production of the growth hormone. As a result, all the organs and tissues in the body are induced to grow. This growth is responsible for a wide range of symptoms, some of which can be neuro-psychiatric.<br/> AIM: To promote the early detection of acromegaly so that treatment can be started as soon as possible and further damage can be prevented.<br/> METHOD: We searched PubMed for articles relating to quality of life and cognitive, psychological and psychiatric symptoms and personality changes associated with acromegaly.<br/> RESULTS: We describe the pathophysiology and epidemiology of acromegaly. Then we present the characteristic, external changes, neuro-cognitive complications, psychiatric disorders, personality changes and relevant comorbid somatic symptoms. Acromegaly is a disease in which patients, long before being diagnosed, present with cognitive and affective disorders. Before patients are diagnosed, they have often visited several consultants in connection with their nonspecific symptoms.<br/> CONCLUSION: We believe that in everyday practice patients with acromegaly are frequently misdiagnosed. If patients present with extensive somatic co-morbidity and treatment-resistant depression and particularly if these symptoms are combined with the typical external features of acromegaly, then acromegaly can be suspected and further investigation should proceed without delay.

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