Growth Hormone (GH) Lab Values

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Hi there. My name is Abby. I'm here with and in this lesson, we're discussing growth hormone. We'll talk about the negative feedback loop of course, but also the normal values for growth hormone, and when we might see them increase or decrease. Are you ready? Let's dive in! 


Growth hormone, abbreviated GH, is produced by the pituitary gland. Testing evaluates the amount of growth hormone that the body is producing by the pituitary gland. Growth hormone orchestrates the body's growth by controlling metabolism. When levels are appropriate, you're going to have healthy, happy growth like these kids here. An indication to take this lab is to evaluate a deficiency in growth hormone or excess in growth hormone. In children, it's termed gigantism. Gigantism is a rare disorder in childhood where the body produces too much growth hormone and then, children are tall, and they have large hands and feet. Whereas in adults, it's diagnosed as acromegaly. In acromegaly, this is also a disorder where too much growth hormones are produced, and adults with acromegaly have thicker bones, large hands and feet, and they have really prominent facial features. 


Normal therapeutic value is around 10 nanograms per milliliter. This hormone is tested in the collection of a plasma separator tube. An increase in the lab value indicates a growth hormone excess, like we talked about, gigantic in children and diagnosed as acromegaly in adults. Remember that prominent brow we talked about? Large hands, large feet, really tall. This is Andre the giant. And interestingly enough, he's next to individuals that have deficiency of growth hormone who are little people, or it's also known as dwarfism. A pituitary tumor will hyper secrete growth hormone, also resulting in too much growth. Growth hormone is also elevated in exercise, in trauma, as well as sepsis. And you think of course, that makes sense, the body's either trying to heal like in trauma and sepsis, or when you're exercising, your muscles are trying to get bigger, right? This is an arm with a big bicep. <laugh> When it's decreased, like we talked about, then that results in dwarfism, or it could be a hypo secretion from the pituitary, which is also related to a tumor, and it could also have been the result of pituitary damage from surgery or radiation, and also from trauma. 


The linchpins for this lesson are that the growth hormone in the blood is measured to evaluate growth disorders in children and adults. The normal value is 10 nanograms per milliliter. Excess growth hormone manifests as acromegaly in adults and gigantism in children. It can also be a hypersecretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. A decreased value is going to correlate with growth hormone deficiency, or a hyposecretion of growth hormone. 


Now, you all did so great on this lesson and this wraps it up. Remember, we love you guys. Now, go out and be your best self today and as always, happy nursing.


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