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A growth hormone (GH) test measures the amount of human growth hormone (GH) in the blood. GH is made by the pituitary gland and is needed for growth. It plays an important role in how the body uses food for energy (metabolism). The amount of GH in the blood changes during the day and is affected by exercise, sleep, emotional stress, and diet.
Too much GH during childhood can cause a child to grow taller than normal (gigantism). Too little GH during childhood can cause a child to grow less than normal (dwarfism). Both conditions can be treated if found early.
In adults, too much GH is caused by a non-cancerous tumour of the pituitary gland (adenoma). Too much GH can cause bones of the face, jaw, hands, and feet to grow larger than normal (acromegaly).
Growth hormone can cause the release of other substances (factors) that affect growth and metabolism. One of these is insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). When the GH level is very high, the IGF-1 level is also very high. A test for IGF-1 may also be done.
A test for growth hormone (GH) is done to:
No special preparation usually is required before having this test. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the non-prescription and prescription medicines you take.
Blood levels of growth hormone (GH) can change quickly, so more than one blood sample may be taken on different days. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels change more slowly, and it may be the first test done.
The health professional drawing blood will:
The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch.
There is very little chance of a problem from having blood sample taken from a vein.
A growth hormone (GH) test measures the amount of human growth hormone (GH) in the blood.
The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.
Less than 5 micrograms per litre [mcg/L] (less than 220 picomoles per litre [pmol/L] )
Less than 10 mcg/L (less than 440 pmol/L)
Less than 20 mcg/L (less than 880 pmol/L)
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
CitationsFischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Other Works ConsultedChernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Current as ofNovember 6, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineDonald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineAlan C. Dalkin, MD -
Current as of: November 6, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Alan C. Dalkin, MD -
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