Growth Hormone
(GH)

Alternate Names

  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
  • Somatotropin Hormone (SH)

Growth Hormone is released by the pituitary gland and normal levels are necessary for growth and development. When levels are inadequate, growth will be delayed which results in short stature (dwarfism) and delayed puberty. When levels are too high, growth will be increased which results in higher than normal stature (gigantism) and precocious (early) puberty. If growth hormone levels are too high after the end of puberty, bones will become very thick (acromegaly) but there will be no increase in height. This test is not very accurate, since blood levels of growth hormone vary throughout the day and can be affected by numerous factors such as illness, surgery, stress, or exercise. GH levels may be used as a screening test for people who have under- or over-active pituitary glands.

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