Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) is a hormone that is similar in structure to insulin and works with Growth Hormone to reproduce and regenerate cells.
Growth Hormone, made by the pituitary gland, stimulates the liver to produce IGF-1 and IGF-1 subsequently stimulates growth in cells throughout the body, leading to growth and development (as in the womb and through adolescence), strengthening of tissues (improving bone density, building muscle), and healing (skin, bones, gut lining, etc.), depending on what the body needs.
IGF-1 measurements are adjusted for age because levels tend to decrease as you get older.
Results of IGF-1 are given in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Normal ranges by age are:
- 182 to 780 ng/mL for ages 16 to 24
- 114 to 492 ng/mL for ages 25 to 39
- 90 to 360 ng/mL for ages 40 to 54
- 71 to 290 ng/mL for people 55 and older
IGF-1 is a hormone found naturally in your blood. Its main job is to manage the effects of growth hormone (GH) in your body. Normal IGF-1 and GH functions include tissue and bone growth.
IGF-1 is formed in different tissues as a result of GH in the blood. Some disorders and diseases, such as pituitary tumors, can cause your body to make too much GH. Because IGF-1 measurements relate to GH measurements, this test is used to diagnose many problems linked to too much or too little GH.
For diagnosing acromegaly:
If your IGF-1 is high and your GH is high, you may have acromegaly.
Acromegaly is a rare condition where the body produces too much growth hormone, causing body tissues and bones to grow more quickly. Over time, this leads to abnormally large hands and feet, and a wide range of other symptoms. Acromegaly is usually diagnosed in adults aged 30 to 50, but it can affect people of any age.
Levels of IGF-1 that are higher or lower than normal may also be caused by:
Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels
Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus
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