HGH and Height Treatments
Many famous people throughout history have been of short stature, from Napoleon Bonaparte to the actor Danny DeVito. However, despite their fame, it is impossible to argue that society tends to admire taller people more. It is common for shorter adults to want to increase their height, and there are individuals who suffer from a deficiency of growth hormone which can affect their physical health as well as their stature. Certain treatments that promise to make us taller as well as improving our health overall, but are all the benefits that they claim real? It is important to consider them carefully before we decide to begin treatment of any kind.
Why is HGH important to our health?
HGH stands for human growth hormone. It is generated in the pituitary gland in the brain, and it is sent out throughout the body at various times. The largest amount of HGH is released when we are in the deepest stage of sleep. In the direct cycle of release, the HGH binds itself directly to our cells. However, it is the indirect cycle where the largest part of the HGH that our bodies produce has its effect. During this cycle, our livers work to convert the hormone into an insulin-like growth factor, and from there it passes into our bloodstream.
HGH serves an important purpose throughout our lives. When we are children, it helps us to grow taller and reach our full development. As we reach adulthood, it binds itself to our cells and works as a growth factor to strengthen our bones and help maintain cell and organ function and health. There is also evidence that the level of HGH our brains generates declines as we grow older – some studies say that it drops by twenty-five percent when we reach our fifties. This lower hormone level may be related to some of the most common effects of aging, such as grey hair, wrinkled skin, weight gain, and decreased sex drive and performance.
How does HGH relate to stature?
Children who have from a lower level of HGH than the usual can experience a number of health problems in addition to short physical stature. Some children suffer from genetic disorders that cause an HGH deficiency, such as Turner’s Syndrome or Prader-Willi Syndrome. Turner’s Syndrome affects girls’ development, and Prader-Willi Syndrome can cause a constant feeling of hunger, bad sight, decreased sex hormones, and lack of muscle tone. As adults, individuals with these disorders have a greater risk of developing problems with their kidneys or, for females, with their ovaries, as well as a larger chance of bone or muscle issues such as osteoporosis. Other children might have been small for their gestational age from the beginning of their lives, or they might have a kidney deficiency. These conditions are also related to lower HGH levels. Most children that have extraordinarily short stature, however, experience Growth Hormone Deficiency. These individuals might show no other physical effects.
For adults, it is far more rare that short stature is tied to a growth hormone deficiency. Occasionally, it is the case that an adult continues to experience the same disorder that he or she has suffered from since childhood. At other times, tumors in the brain or radiation treatment for those tumors can cause a drop in the level of hormone that is generated. There are cases where patients with wasting diseases such as AIDS suffer from a loss of HGH, and adults with short bowel syndrome also see a change in their hormone levels. Although lower levels of HGH do not generally affect the height of adults, they can have an impact on their overall health, including amount of body fat, mental focus, and healing ability and immune system function.
Can I use HGH to increase my height?
For children, there are HGH treatments that allow them to increase in stature. However, it is necessary for treatment to begin before the individual’s growth plates close. The most common treatment is for the patient to receive injections of synthetic HGH, which increases the amount of the hormone in his or her body and helps with growth. These treatments do have a record of success in increasing height and impacting general health. Even so, there are some important considerations that should be addressed before beginning the course of injections. First, the treatments are only legally available with a doctor’s prescription. Any injections administered without a prescription or after the patient’s growth plates are closed cannot be guaranteed to be effective or even safe. Also, the dosages of artificial HGH are only available in the form of injections, which can be a problem for those patients who dislike needles. The manufacturers often use insulin needles for the injections, and that can considerably lessen the pain. Furthermore, the injections can be prohibitively expensive, ranging in cost from US$10,000 to US$30,000 per year. Finally, the treatments may cause mild to severe side effects in the patient. The most common side effects include swelling and irritation around the injection site, changes in mood, muscle and joint pain, higher blood sugar, and even increased risk of infection. Some patients experience pressure on the brain. One of the more extreme side effects is a greater chance of scoliosis, which is a condition where the spine curves. The most severe effect of HGH injections is that they caused death for some children who suffered from Prader-Willi Syndrome, and who were extremely overweight and suffered from difficulty breathing or infection of the lungs.
The most common treatment for adults who are of short stature is limb-lengthening surgery. The process works like this: first, the bone that the patient wishes to elongate is either broken or cut with a small incision. The surgery usually requires a stay of one to three days in the hospital. Then a device is put into place to begin distraction of the bone. This may be an external fixator fastened to the bone with pins or screws, or a metal rod implanted in the bone in addition to the fixator. Recently, scientists have even developed implantable prostheses and nails that do not require the presence of a fixator at all. The patient either turns the fixator or exerts small amounts of pressure on the limb with the implantable nails in order to pull the bone and tissue apart at the average rate of a millimeter per day. This distraction allows new bone to form, making it longer and increasing the patient’s height. When the desired length has been reached, the consolidation phase of the process begins. During this time, the bone is allowed to harden and heal. If a metal rod or implantable devices are present, the external fixator may be removed, but with an external fixator alone, it can take as much as two months per centimeter of new bone for the distraction and consolidation treatment phases to be complete. It is necessary for the patient to have regular X-rays and physical therapy throughout the process. In addition, the patient may have to wear a cast immediately afterwards in order to make sure that the bone is protected.
Limb-lengthening surgery is able to increase height, although most patients never grow more than two or three inches taller. Some authorities say that the pain from the surgery is easily manageable at night by medication, and that complications only rarely develop from the process. However, a number of former patients say that the pain was excruciating, and a 2006 journal article from International Orthopaedics claims that side effects such as uneven lengthening or unbalanced bones, problems with the hip joints, and even more severe issues such as nerve damage or paralysis frequently occur. There can also be damage to the soft tissues of the elongating limb, or a defect can form in the bone itself. If these problems are not corrected, it can require more time in the hospital for the patient. In addition, because few doctors in the United States perform limb-lengthening surgery, it can be difficult to obtain – as well as expensive. According to one source, the cost can be around $80,000.
There is another method that claims to increase height for adults: exercise. Unlike limb-lengthening surgery, exercise treatment is directly tied to the levels of HGH that the brain generates. According to some arguments, regular stretching, hanging, resistance and anaerobic exercises can stimulate the brain to produce spikes in the level of HGH that it releases. (Anaerobic exercises are activities such as playing basketball, swimming, and bicycling.) Some sources even claim that quick, high-intensity sexual activity can cause a spike in HGH levels. The increase in HGH helps bone development by helping more bone cells form, which adds to and elongates the limb. The hormone also increases the cartilage that forms around the end of the bone as it grows. These “cushions” of cartilage support the bone and allow it to develop further. When the bone stops growing, they disappear. Increased HGH levels can help prevent the cartilage from disappearing and make it easier for the bone to keep growing, even as we age.
However, there is not much solid evidence as to whether exercise treatments really succeed in augmenting adults’ height. Most sources seem to doubt that exercises, even in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can create enough of an increase in HGH to add significantly to the height of a grown individual. On the other hand, maintaining that lifestyle, with the possible addition of taking a natural HGH supplement, can have a positive impact on overall physical health. HGH supplements such as Growth Factor Plus, HGF Max and Somatropinne are available over the counter, for a much lower price than other types of treatment, and the natural HGH supplements prevent adverse side effects. Although these human growth hormone supplements do not guarantee an increase in height, they do claim to be able to help an individual look and feel younger and healthier, regardless of his or her age.
Which option should I pick?
Whether you decide to try hormone injections, limb-lengthening surgery, exercise treatments, or HGH supplements like Growth Factor Plus, you should first talk to your doctor and see what impact each process might have on your general health. Next, weigh the risks and benefits and decide whether the trouble and pain is worth the inches you might gain. Remember that although society can be judgmental, it is most important that you feel good about yourself and your height and lifestyle. There are many famous people of short stature throughout history who would agree.