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Abnormal GH levels can usually be modified once the causes are identified. Synthetic GH is available to alleviate deficiencies in children (treatment of adults with GHD is more controversial). Combinations of surgery, medication, and radiation can be used to treat pituitary tumors that are causing excess GH production. The important thing is to identify GH abnormalities as soon as possible for good outcomes. If left untreated, a child with GH deficiency will continue to have a short stature compared to peers. Likewise, the bone growth changes associated with gigantism and acromegaly are permanent.
In the past, growth hormone treatment was stopped at the end of growth. It is now clear that growth hormone contributes to both bone mass and muscle mass reaching the best possible level, as well as reducing fat mass during development to an adult. The specialist is therefore likely to discuss the benefits of continuing growth hormone after growth has completed until age 25 to make sure bone and muscle mass reach the best possible level. Additionally, growth hormone has been linked to a sensation of wellbeing, specifically energy levels. There is evidence that 30-50% of adults with growth hormone deficiency feel tired to a level that impairs their wellbeing. These adults may benefit from lifelong treatment with growth hormone. Taking growth hormone when adult will not result in increased height.