List the Diseases Caused by a Deficiency in Growth Hormone


Adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD) can lead to many potentially dangerous health concerns if left untreated. The more you know about HGH and diseases that could occur, the better able you will be to protect your health and well-being now and well into the future.

Human growth hormone is what many medical professionals consider to be the body’s “master hormone.” Its effects impact:

  • Cell regeneration
  • Metabolism
  • Immunity
  • Heart health
  • Brain functions
  • Libido
  • Glucose levels
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Blood pressure
  • Circulation
  • Hormone production

You can probably tell the widespread impact that human growth hormone has on the body. When we examine the effect of low levels of HGH, diseases such as dementia, cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis come to mind.

The older a person becomes, the lower his or her growth hormone levels fall. The depletion of HGH production is a natural part of aging. However, symptoms of severe AGHD are not natural and can be extremely debilitating.

Dementia, Depression, and Growth Hormone Deficiency

The impact of HGH on the brain is something everyone needs to understand. Growth hormone can cross the blood-brain barrier to bind with GH receptor cells throughout the brain. If HGH levels are low, the receptors here will not receive a proper supply. The effects of AGHD on cognitive health can lead to extreme mental decline in the following ways:

  • Impaired focus and concentration
  • Loss of motivation and drive resulting in decreased productivity and performance
  • Trouble processing newly learned information and retaining it for future recall
  • Poor memory – both short-term and long-term
  • Reduced ability to perform mental calculations and functions
  • Increased feelings of depression
  • More stress, irritability, and anxiety
  • Mood swings, poor outlook for the future
  • Social isolation and loss of interest in activities and hobbies

Memory decline associated with AGHD can lead to increased risks for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative conditions.

Diabetes, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular Disease, and Growth Hormone Deficiency

Growth hormone deficiency has a clinically relevant association with diabetes, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease. We at examine each of these HGH and diseases issues in detail below:

  • Type 2 Diabetes and Growth Hormone Deficiency
  • Growth hormone helps regulate metabolism. Adult patients with AGHD are more likely to suffer from increased abdominal fat storage. Weight gain puts a person at risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome. Diabetes prevalence is positively associated with waist circumference, body mass index, and other factors. Abnormal body composition contributes to high LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
  • Low HGH levels contribute to impaired glucose uptake by the body’s cells. Growth hormone stimulates the liver’s production of insulin growth factor 1. The HGH/IGF-1 axis aids in the absorption of glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of tissues throughout the body. It is this absorption of glucose that provides the cells with energy to power the body. AGHD interferes with this absorption. Excess insulin then enters the bloodstream to prompt glucose uptake. The cells become insensitive to the effects of insulin, and the bloodstream becomes saturated with glucose and insulin.
  • Atherosclerosis and Growth Hormone Deficiency
  • Growth hormone impacts cholesterol levels, helping to maintain low LDL cholesterol and higher HDL and total cholesterol levels. As HGH production declines, LDL and total cholesterol levels increase. The result is a reduction in how well HDL cholesterol can remove LDL cholesterol from the arteries. As this continues, fatty deposits called plaque begin to build up in the arteries. The arterial walls start to harden, and the resulting condition is called atherosclerosis. Plaque build-up impairs blood flow to the body and the brain. If any of this plaque breaks loose, it can create a clot. The result would be a stroke (if blood flow is impaired to the brain) or a heart attack (if blood flow is impaired to the heart). HGH therapy helps to lower LDL cholesterol to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
  • Cardiovascular Disease and Growth Hormone Deficiency
  • Clearly, atherosclerosis would be one major contributing factor to cardiovascular disease. Studies on the use of HGH for patients with cardiovascular disease have shown the following benefits:
  • As much as a 10 percent increase for left ventricular ejection fraction
  • Improved peak oxygen consumption
  • Reduced indexes for left ventricular end diastolic and systolic volumes as well as vascular resistance
  • Better exercise capacity which aids in heart health
  • Increased left ventricular mass and posterior wall thickness
  • Improved nitric oxide release via insulin growth factor 1 (reduces oxidative stress)
  • Enhanced blood flow and circulation throughout the body and brain
  • Decreased c-reactive protein inflammatory markers and homocysteine levels

As you can see, weight gain, high LDL cholesterol, and impaired glucose metabolism resulting from AGHD all contribute to these potential diseases.

How Does a Deficiency in Growth Hormone Lead to Osteopenia and Osteoporosis?

Growth hormone deficiency is the leading cause of impaired cell production as it, along with IGF-1, stimulates cellular regeneration. Those cells are not only crucial to the maintenance of all internal organs, but also the skin, hair, muscles, and bones.

No look at HGH and diseases would be complete without a discussion about osteopenia and osteoporosis. Osteopenia is the precursor to osteoporosis. It is the warning that the bones are becoming weaker and more brittle.

Growth hormone deficiency in adults causes a reduction in the supply of new bone cells ready to replace the ones that die off. When the resorption of old bone cells happens faster than the production of new bone cells, the bones become thinner and brittle. The result is an increased risk of osteoporosis and future fractures.

What Else You Need to Know about Diseases Caused by a Deficiency in Growth Hormone

There are certainly many ways that growth hormone deficiency impacts the adult body if left untreated. From high blood pressure to lack of sleep, the results can impair a person’s quality of life.

Here are some other things you need to know about HGH and diseases:

  • Growth hormone helps protect against inflammation in the body. Inflammation may impact kidney functions. In one study on HGH and kidney disease in adults, benefits were noticed based on the impact of HGH for heart health. Cardiovascular disease increases the risk of mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). HGH therapy helps to improve inflammation levels in patients with CKD, as well as improve nutritional deficiencies. Human growth hormone treatment also enhances protein synthesis through amino acid uptake. Additionally, HGH aids in reducing levels of ghrelin and leptin which accumulate in patients with CKD. Increased nitric oxide levels also improve endothelial function.
  • There is also a connection between decreased levels of HGH and autoimmune diseases. Conditions such as Crohn’s disease, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and others may be helped if growth hormone deficiency is present.