"Hypopituitary adults have a reduced life expectancy, with a 2-fold higher risk of death for cardiovascular disease compared with that in the control population, and [growth hormone deficiency] has been considered the underlying factor influencing this increased mortality."
Lately growth hormone has been given a bad rap because of the controversy of its abuse by healthy, adult athletes and body-builders. That's actually very sad when there is a sizable body of chronically afflicted, growth hormone deficient adults. Hypopitiutarism and panhypopituitarism due to pituitary adenomas, surgery as treatment, and/or infarction leaves most Cushing's Disease survivors with growth hormone deficiency (GHD).
According to recent research, quoted here at Stanford and reiterated by Dr. Theodore Friedman, "GH appears to be one of the first hormones to be lost in patients with pituitary tumors and nearly all patients with two or more other pituitary deficiencies also lack GH."
In a recent issue of Pituitary, a study titled "Effects of 5 years of growth hormone (GH) replacement therapy of cardiac parameters and physical performance in adults with GH deficiency" caught my eye. Although not really news to me, it was nice to see some more validation. The research is outlined exceptionally well, with concise but thorough discussion and analysis.
The bottom line: There may be a slight increase in blood pressure and left ventricular mass with treatment, but this is greatly offset by "positive effects on exercise capacity and maximum oxygen uptake".
Another study states:
...there is no doubt that adult patients with hypopituitarism and GH deficiency have an increased CV risk (odds ratio of 2 for men and 3.5 to 4 for women). "
Improvement of systolic and diastolic pressures, lipid profiles, and plaque formation are also documented. A significant decrease in IMT and CRP were favorable outcomes of GH replacement therapy.
GHD has also been linked to apathy, fatigue, lack of motivation and more. Thus, it becomes not only an issue of mortality, but also an issue of quality of life.
I hope the medical community will educate themselves about GHD. The authors of the Pituitary
study elaborated well:
GHD is associated with hypercoagulability, abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, unfavorable lipid profile, atherosclerosis, increased blood pressure (BP), decreased exercise performance and with reduced pulmonary capacity, left ventricular (LV) mass and LV systolic performance...
Cenci, M., Soares, D., Spina, L., Lima Oliveira Brasil, R., Lobo, P., Mansur, V., Gold, J., Michmacher, E., Vaisman, M., & Conceição, F. (2009). Effects of 5 years of growth hormone (GH) replacement therapy on cardiac parameters and physical performance in adults with GH deficiency Pituitary DOI: 10.1007/s11102-009-0182-2