Adult growth hormone (GH) deficiency is a well-described clinical syndrome with many features reminiscent of fibromyalgia. There is evidence that GH deficiency as defined in terms of a low insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) level occurs in approximately 30% of patients with fibromyalgia and is probably the cause of some morbidity. It seems most likely that impaired GH secretion in fibromyalgia is related to a physiologic dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) with a resulting increase in hypothalamic somatostatin tone. It is postulated that impaired GH secretion is secondary to chronic physical and psychological stressors. It appears that impaired GH secretion is more common than clinically significant GH deficiency with low IGF-1 levels. The severe GH deficiency that occurs in a subset of patients with fibromyalgia is of clinical relevance because it is a treatable disorder with demonstrated benefits to patients.
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