What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency?
Adults experiencing a decline in the production of the hormone somatotropin – growth hormone, GH – can experience a wide array of symptoms in conjunction with this condition. The specific changes that any one person will notice can vary greatly from that of another. Most people will exhibit a combination of many of the HGH deficiency symptoms listed below.
In order to understand how this hormonal decline can cause such widespread effect, it may be helpful to learn the basics of what GH does in the body. Once secreted in a pulsatile burst, this powerful chemical messenger races through the bloodstream to its multitude of receptor cells throughout the body in order to deliver its signal before it disappears.
Some areas may receive a higher level of GH, meaning that the signal received will stimulate those areas more than others. That is where symptoms of HGH deficiency begin. Growth hormone receptor cells can be found in the brain, liver, muscles, bones, and there is even stimulation for the metabolism, immune system, and sexual functions.
A detailed analysis of HGH deficiency signs and symptoms in adults can be found below:
- Fatigue and Energy Loss
Very low energy levels are common with GH decline. Adults typically experience difficulty falling and getting enough sleep at night, and that leads to starting the day fatigued. Decreased stamina and endurance can affect productivity. Falling asleep at one’s desk in the afternoon is commonplace. There is also an increased risk of dozing off behind the wheel of a car.
- Reduced Bone Density and Osteoporosis
Growth hormone signals received by the liver stimulate the secretion of insulin growth factor 1. IGF-1 and GH work together to regulate the body’s reproduction of new cells. This process is necessary for the bones so that old bone cells that are reabsorbed during the rebuilding process have new bone cells waiting and ready to take their place. In situations of GH decline, the bones will begin to weaken, and the risk of developing osteoporosis is increased – paving the way for fractures in later years.
- Difficulty with Memory and Concentration
The brain is home to a dense population of GH receptor cells, primarily in the regions associated with learning and memory. A decline here can create problems with focus, cognitive skills, retaining new information, and recalling past memories. If left untreated, growth hormone deficiency can lead to dementia.
- Hair Loss
The process of growing hair relies on an abundance of cells to form and nourish the hair shaft, bulb, and follicle. Both men and women can notice an overall thinning of the hair, some hair loss or balding, brittle texture, and even loss of color – graying. This can be reversed by increasing the amount of GH in the body through HGH therapy.
- Decreased Sexual Function and Desire
Adult HGH deficiency can lead to a decline in sexual desire and interest. The ability to become aroused may wane, and performance can be affected by vaginal dryness in women and erectile dysfunction in men. The sensation of pleasure is often significantly reduced.
- Temperature Sensitivity
Sensitivity to heat and cold temperature extremes is often reported.
- Anxiety, Mood Changes, and Depression
As if looking over the list of possible symptoms of HGH deficiency wasn’t enough of a reason to feel depressed, growth hormone seems to have a lasting effect on how a person feels. Mood changes, increased stress, frustration, social isolation, and depression are all common signs that GH levels have decreased.
- Decreased Muscle Mass And Strength
In much the same way that the bones rely on new cells to keep them strong, lean muscle mass requires the same cellular regeneration process to protect muscles from shrinkage. HGH therapy helps to increase lean muscle mass and strength in adults who have suffered from this deficiency and muscle loss.
- Changes in Skin Texture and Tone
Dry, thin skin is often associated with a decline in collagen production. Collagen also requires an abundance of new cells for its formation. HGH deficiency increases the appearance of wrinkles, cellulite, age spots, and sagging.
- Weight Gain
Growth hormone stimulates the metabolism to convert lipids (fats), proteins, and carbohydrates into a usable form of energy. When the signal received is not as high as required, metabolic function will decline, and food will be converted into excess fat to be stored away for the future. This is why some people gain weight in later years of life even though they have made no other changes in their diet or lifestyles. HGH therapy will help to improve the metabolism and reduce stored fat.
- Impaired Immunity
As with the metabolism, the immune system also receives signals from growth hormone. In this case, a person dealing with the signs of HGH deficiency will find that he or she is increasingly susceptible to colds and viruses. Injuries and illness require longer healing times.
- High LDL “bad” Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
Growth hormone helps the body destroy excess lipid (fat) molecules and triglycerides and then remove them from the bloodstream. Adults with GH deficiency have been found to have higher levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in their blood. High LDL cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis – the formation of plaque on artery walls.
- Heart Problems
High cholesterol leads to atherosclerosis, as shown above, and that, in turn, can result in the rupture of atherosclerotic plaques, which can trigger blood clots that can block blood flow to the heart or brain. This, in turn, can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
- Impaired Exercise Tolerance
Low GH levels also reduce cardiac output and capacity for exercise. Fatigue further exacerbates this condition, making it difficult to engage in strenuous exercise –which is needed during the day to stimulate GH release.
- Insulin Resistance
Through its metabolic connection, HGH stimulates protein production. This counteracts the level of insulin in the bloodstream.
- Internal Organs
The body’s internal organs also rely on abundant cellular regeneration in order to avoid shrinkage in later years. This shrinkage can then go on to affect proper organ function.
Growth hormone decline does not affect all people in the same way. Some people will have only a few of these symptoms while others may have multiple effects of this deficiency. Blood testing will let the doctor know the severity of the decline, and enable an accurate determination of the ideal dosage of HGH therapy to combat these changes.
If you notice any of the HGH deficiency symptoms in adults being present in your life, contact the hormone replacement therapy experts at National HRT ® for a free consultation.