Dwarfism, in contrast to cretinism arising from hypothyroidism, is not accompanied by physical deformity, mental inferiority, or retardation.
The hypophysial dwarfs are frequently immature sexually and at adult age may attain a height no taller than 3 or 4 feet.
The relative proportions of the different parts of the skeleton do not deviate markedly from normal, although the head is generally large in relation to the body.
Hypersecretion of growth hormone : Hypersecretion of growth hormone prior to puberty, before ossification is complete, results in gigantism, a condition typified by a general overgrowth of the skeleton, resulting in individuals of 7 or 8 ft. or more in height. The limbs are generally disproportinately long.
Hypersecretion of the hormone after the usual age of full skeletal growth results in acromegaly.
In this disease a characteristic enlargement or overgrowth of the bones of the hands, feet, and in particular the jaws, checks, and face takes place.
There is also an excessive growth of fibrous tissue, resulting in thickened nose, lips, eyelids, and broadened fingertips.
There is bowing of the spine (kyphosis); the outer posterior diameter of the chest is increased. In the early stages of the disease, increased sexual activity may be evident.
Later, there occur atrophy of the gonads and suppression of the sexual functions in both sexes, with importance in men and amenorrhea in women.
Acromegaly is sometimes caused by a tumour of the adenohypophysis, and in such a case surgery may be attempted.