The human body changes almost without notice. Children get taller, and hair starts to thin as people get older. Hormones control these processes. Unfortunately, things can sometimes go wrong with hormones in the human body. Human growth hormone is responsible for growth, just as its name implies. It controls chemical reactions in the body. Some people produce the hormone in great amounts, while others do not produce any of the hormone.
When a person has too much or too little human growth hormone, they experience various problems, like bone weakness, delayed puberty, fatigue, or dwarfism. If a child has any of these issues, a doctor may recommend that they take a human growth hormone test. It is also possible for adults to take human hormone growth tests. The basis of the test is a blood sample. It is important for issues with human growth hormone to be diagnosed and treated. If not, the issue may get worse over time. The pituitary gland produces human growth hormone. This gland is behind the nose and in front of the brain. The gland controls other hormones. It is part of the endocrine system.
What Are Growth Hormone Tests?
When there is too much or too little human growth hormone, it could indicate a problem with the pituitary gland. Pediatricians can help children who have problems with their pituitary glands. They will check the child’s height, head size, and weight and compare that with other children in that age range. If the measurements are abnormal, some tests may be ordered. Adults may speak with a doctor about potential pituitary gland problems if they have depression, increased body fat, decreased muscle mass, low energy, and less strength. While blood tests measure how much growth hormone is in the body, doctors use various methods to stimulate growth hormone in the body before taking the test.
How Children and Adults Prepare for Growth Hormone Tests
Various tests are used to determine if a child has a growth hormone deficiency. Human growth hormone will be stimulated in the body, and a blood test can be taken. Children should not eat on the day of their test. They should also avoid taking medications unless their doctor has advised them otherwise. Parents should prepare their children for the test since it usually takes a couple of hours. They can bring along games or videos to keep them from getting bored. They should be dressed in comfortable clothes. Adults usually take several tests as well. A stimulation test will be used to see how much growth hormone is in their body. Their doctor will also check to see if there are problems with other hormones, like testosterone or cortisol. Adults must fast up to 12 hours before the test and avoid certain medications. They should avoid exercise for at least 10 hours before the test to get the best results.
What Happens During the Test?
A technician will place an IV line in the arm or hand of the child for their test. They will take a blood sample. The child will then be given a dose of medicine to stimulate the pituitary gland. Another blood sample will be taken about 30 minutes later. After the test is finished, the child can eat and should rest. The process is similar for adults. A blood sample is taken, medications are used to stimulate growth hormone in the body, and another blood sample is taken about 30 minutes later. It is unlikely that a human growth hormone stimulation test will cause complications.
Understanding the Results of the Test
The test will likely be ready after a couple of days. If there are high levels of human growth hormone, this could suggest possible acromegaly or a tumor. In children, it could suggest gigantism. If low levels are indicated, it could suggest slow growth, possible dwarfism, or an issue with the pituitary gland. Human growth hormone issues are sometimes related to other glands. A doctor may recommend that you get more tests if they are needed. For example, they may recommend an MRI or CT scan. Are you interested in learning more about the human growth hormone stimulation test? If so, contact us today at 205-352-9141.