Womens Health

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) And Aging

On their quest towards eternal youth, people are taking up increasingly controversial methods in an effort to get the best results. One such treatment involves the use of the human growth hormone (HGH). While the hormone's unintended usage was previously exclusive to the sports world, some doctors are now recommending HGH as part of an anti-aging-skin-care regime - despite the fact that it is illegal to use HGH.

In fact, sales of HGH exceeded $620 million in 2004, with 74% of prescriptions being written for people aged 20 or older.

What Is HGH?

HGH is produced by the pituitary gland, located at the base of our brains. It is important for growth, especially in children and adolescents, as well as for the maintenance of healthy tissues and bones.

Levels of HGH decrease as we age - although this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, some research has suggested high levels of HGH have been linked to earlier death than those with lower levels, although such findings are still largely inconclusive.

How Does HGH Work?

HGH supplements can be very effective for those who are found to have a serious deficiency of the hormone. HGH is recommended for:

    1. children with low levels of HGH (in order to promote normal growth)
    2. children with kidney disease
    3. children with Prader-Willi syndrome
    4. children with Turner's syndrome
    5. AIDS patients (used in order to build muscle mass)
    6. young people without a pituitary gland (used in order to prevent obesity)

HGH Side Effects

Although HGH is becoming increasingly popular on the US market, the problem is that its use is often illegal and, in many cases, dangerous. The issue is that while the use of HGH has been approved for the cases listed above, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not endorse the use of HGH as a form of anti aging therapy, due to its potential side effects.

Some doctors, however, have bypassed these restrictions by administering blood tests that they claim demonstrate their patient in fact has an HGH deficiency. However, using HGH for cosmetic purposes can carry potentially serious consequences

Some possible side effects of HGH include:

  • diabetes
  • pooling of fluid in skin/other tissues
  • high blood pressure
  • heart failure
  • bloating
  • abnormal bone growth
  • hardening of the arteries
  • joint/muscle pain or arthritis-like symptoms
  • carpal tunnel syndrome

In addition, recent studies have found that the risk of these side effects increases with age - especially after the age of 60. That is why it is recommended HGH only be prescribed for those who truly need it.

Cost of HGH

Besides the potential side effects, the cost of taking HGH may be another deterrent for people looking to turn back the clock.

Those who are prescribed HGH, could be looking at a monthly bill of over $1,000 for injections, depending on the necessary dosage. HGH in pill form can be found through the internet, although they are not a safe choice; not only are they not regulated, they have not been proven to work, even for those who need HGH for medical reasons.

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