Growth hormone is essential for normal linear growth and the attainment of an adult mature height. It also plays an important role in cartilage growth and the attainment of normal bone mass. There is only one rheumatic disorder, namely acromegaly, in which abnormalities of growth hormone production play a major etiologic role. However, there is increasing appreciation that suboptimal growth hormone secretion, leading to a state of adult growth hormone deficiency, may occur in the setting of chronic inflammatory disease, chronic corticosteroid use, and fibromyalgia. Therefore, the evaluation and effective management of growth hormone oversecretion and undersecretion is relevant to practicing rheumatologists.
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