The Verdict is In… Almost

I am truly grateful for my wonderful friends who are tagging along with me on this whole pituitary adventure, eagerly awaiting the next turn. Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement.

I spoke with my nurse practitioner from the Neuroscience Center this afternoon, and all of my test results are back.

All of them looked pretty good, with one exception–my growth hormone level is quite low. It’s as low as it can get, and still be in the “normal” range. Actually, it’s the IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor one) that is low, which indirectly reflects how much GH is around.

Normal IGF-1 is 94-252. Mine was 97.

What this means is, adult growth hormone deficiency (secondary to the pituitary tumor) is a possibility, and the next step is the growth hormone stimulation test. This is an IV test where arginine is given to stimulate GH release, then the level of GH is measured for a couple hours. This will allow them to definitively render a diagnosis.

Unfortunately, the first available appointment for this test is October 27! So now I have to wait. Again. Unless they have a cancellation.

It is ironic that I have wondered about a GH deficiency for several years after reading about the overlapping symptoms between fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue (CFIDS) and GH deficiency, and my own particular history of problems. Here is a list of the most common symptoms reported by those with GHD (also see Human Growth Foundation):

  • low energy and decreased metabolic rate
  • poor general health
  • reduced exercise capacity
  • muscle weakness
  • cold intolerance
  • impaired cognition
  • low-grade depression and anxiety
  • decreased lean body mass and increased body fat, weight gain
  • headaches
  • lack of libido
  • sleep problems

I can go down my medical history and just check nearly all of these off–particularly over the past 15 years!¬†

And in adults, treatment of GHD has been reported to improve:

  • quality of life and energy level
  • reduce pain
  • improve depression
  • enhance self esteem
  • improve cholesterol and LDL levels
  • improve cognitive performance
  • augment stroke volume (cardiac volume)
  • improve exercise capacity and muscle strength

So I am optimistic we may be onto something here.

The downside is, I seem to have chosen the most expensive hormone to replace. HGH therapy costs between $7K and $10K per year. Insurance companies are pretty reluctant to pay for it, and when they do, they cover only a small portion. Dang!

That’s it for now, until the next round.

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