Produced inside the body’s pituitary gland, human growth hormone (HGH) plays a vital role in helping an individual’s muscles, bones and bodily systems grow and mature. An HGH deficiency of this vital substance could precipitate many alarming, potentially serious physical manifestations and health concerns
Fortunately, healthcare professionals might be able to prevent such circumstances from occurring through the administration of a diagnostic tool known as the Growth Hormone Stimulation Test (sometimes more simply referred to as the GH stimulation test). In this short blog, topics including such as test preparation, how the exam is performed, what are considered normal results, what remedial actions those diagnosed with an HGH deficiency can execute such as HGH therapy, as well the cost of the exam.
What Is The Growth Hormone Stimulation Test?
The GH stimulation test is conducted to determine how effectively someone’s body is producing the chemical in question. Under normal circumstances, a portion of the pituitary gland (which is located in the brain near the hypothalamic region) synthesizes and releases HGH into the bloodstream. Pituitary disorders and a host of other illnesses might interfere with typical HGH production. Therefore, the GH stimulation test might aid medical professionals in identifying specific medical maladies.
How To Prepare Before The Test?
For the examination to be administered properly, intended recipients must adhere to certain preparatory guidelines that include:
Those scheduled to undergo the GH stimulation test must refrain from eating anywhere from 10 to 12 hours in advance of the exam’s administration. Food has been known to skew test results.
Specific prescription drugs might also influence test results. Individuals scheduled to receive the test are advised to speak with their health care provider should they be following a prescription medication regiment.
In certain instances, the general health of a prospective test recipient might factor into whether said individual should receive the exam as scheduled. For example, should someone be stricken with a virus or infection, the exam may need to be performed at a later date.
How Is The Test Performed?
Medical professionals perform the Growth Hormone Stimulation test by drawing numerous samples of a recipient’s blood. However, samples are taken intravenously (IV) instead of through repeated needle pricks and collections.
Those undergoing the exam are subjected to the following steps. A physician inserts an intravenous line into a blood vessel in either the elbow or hand of a said individual. Before any samples are drawn, an antiseptic solution is applied to the injection site to prevent potential infections. Shortly thereafter, the first sample is taken.
Once these initial steps are completed, the recipient is administered drugs that stimulate the pituitary’s production of HGH. After the drug performs its intended task, healthcare providers take further blood samples over a duration lasting anywhere from two to five hours.
The final part of the process involves the test administrator removing the IV line and apply pressure to the injection site to corral or prevent the onset of bleeding.
What Results Are Considered Normal For A GH Stimulation Test?
Following the test, there are certain numbers that indicate positive growth hormone stimulation test results.
A typical peak value reading, which indicates the normal production of growth hormone will be no less than 10ng/mL (or 10 nanograms/per milliliter of blood). Normal readings usually indicate sufficient HGH production and often rules out potential health conditions that might precipitate hormonal deficiencies.
Accepted GH cut-points for GH stimulation tests
Individuals classified as being in the intermediate level often return with readings of anywhere from five to nine ng/mL. It is important to note, however, that certain medical facilities rule readings of seven or higher as the normal range.
Those whose growth hormone stimulation test results are found to be five or fewer nanograms per milliliter will likely be diagnosed with HGH deficiency and might require further medical evaluation to determine the condition’s cause.
Subsequent Actions After A Growth Hormone Stimulation Test
Those with normal or intermediate readings will not need to take any action. However, individuals found to possess subnormal readings might need to initiate corrective measures. A physician might employ various therapeutic protocols. The specifically said endeavor utilized could be determined by several factors such as the patient’s age, weight, overall health, the severity of the hormonal deficiency and the underlying cause that is precipitating said malady.
In patients with minor deficiencies, engaging in lifestyle changes and employing methods that may naturally boost HGH production such as practicing a healthy diet might prove effective. Should hormonal insufficiency be precipitated by an underlying medical problem, identifying and remedying said ailment could prove beneficial.
However, in children and adults with significant deficiencies, the recommended course of action is HGH therapy. Young people are often administered injectable quantities of the hormone shortly after a deficiency is diagnosed and continued until the growth rate of said individuals is regulated.
Growth Hormone Stimulation Test Cost
It is difficult to quantify the growth hormone stimulation test cost. The test is a medical procedure performed inside a hospital or medical clinic. Factors contributing to the exam’s costs could include the type of facility the test is being performed in, the specific drugs the patient will be administered, the duration of the procedure and if any other special considerations must be made in conjunction with performing said test.