The only way for your doctor to determine if you have a growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is to use specific tests designed to measure your HGH level.
Adequate amounts of human growth hormone, or HGH, is vital to your health in many ways. Therefore, a diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency could mean you may be in for some serious health issues.
There are a number of ways to test for growth hormone deficiency in adults. However, they all start with drawing blood. The various blood tests to measure your level of HGH include:
We most commonly use HGH stimulation tests and the IGF-1 test to provide a diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency.
How you prepare for your growth hormone test will depend on the test that you are given. Your health care provider may give you special instructions about what you can or cannot eat before the test. Your doctor may request one or more of the above HGH tests. Since there are some medications that can affect the results, please speak with your medical advisor about any prescription drugs you are taking, as well as any vitamin supplements that are also taken daily.
There are several tests used to diagnose growth hormone deficiency in adults.
Your doctor will suggest that you are tested for growth hormone deficiency if you are exhibiting the following symptoms:
Once you have been given a complete physical exam and other conditions that could cause these symptoms have been ruled out, your doctor will recommend an HGH blood test.
How Much Does HGH Testing Cost?
The cost of your HGH test will depend on the test given. The simpler blood test will be more inexpensive than the more sophisticated tests. The simplest tests are the HGH blood test and the IGF-1 test. The typical cost for each of these tests should be around under $200. Your actual costs may vary depending on how much your healthcare team charges for services, such as drawing your blood and sending it to the lab, or if you are referred directly to the lab.
A growth hormone stimulation test is commonly done to find out if the pituitary gland is releasing the right amount of HGH.
Instead of simply testing your blood for the amount of HGH in your blood at any given time, HGH stimulation tests introduce a medication that will stimulate your pituitary gland to release growth hormone. Once that drug is given, the level of HGH in your blood will be carefully monitored to determine if your body is producing enough HGH or not.
The other test we use most often to test your HGH is the Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) test.
The IGF-1 test is one of the types of tests used to determine if your body is making enough HGH. IGF-1 is an endocrine hormone produced by the liver that, along with growth hormone, helps promote normal bone and tissue growth and development. The IGF-1 test is used:
A blood sample will be drawn from a vein in your arm to do the test. Since HGH levels fluctuate throughout the day, we do not test for HGH but rather IGF-1. IGF-1 mirrors HGH excesses and deficiencies, but the level in the blood is stable throughout the day, making it a more useful indicator of average HGH levels than testing for HGH.
Before performing specific HGH testing, if the IGF-1 level is found to be normal for your age and sex, growth hormone deficiency can usually be, and you should not require any other HGH blood tests or additional diagnostic exams.
The HGH blood test and the IGF-1 test are the most commonly used HGH blood tests.
Since the normal level of HGH is not the same for all people, if an HGH blood test is used, your diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency is based on your HGH levels relative to Body Mass Index, or BMI.
Doctors use the following criteria to form a diagnosis of HGH deficiency in adults when using the growth hormone stimulation test:
If the IGF-1 stimulation test is used, then a determination of GHD will be made per the following normal values.
|Male Age||ng/mL||Female Age||ng/mL|
If the results of either of your tests indicate a diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency, you may be prescribed growth hormone replacement therapy. You may also qualify for alternative therapies such as Sermorelin therapy. Your doctor will determine the best treatment for you based on your test results, your symptoms, your treatment goals, and your unique lifestyle. Usually, the therapy of choice to treat growth hormone deficiency is a six-month program of HGH injections. Genuine growth hormone therapy is only given via injection and is only available with a doctor’s prescription.
If the results of your HGH tests reveal that you have a growth hormone deficiency, you will likely be prescribed growth hormone therapy.
In addition to the various blood tests mentioned above, doctors use several other tests to diagnose growth hormone deficiency. These include: