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Excessive growth, resulting from heredity, diet, or growth regulation disorder. Androgen deficiency causes long bones to continue growing after they would normally stop. Overproduction of growth hormoneusually due to a tumourcauses pituitary gigantism (seepituitary gland). With gradual but continuous growth, height may reach 8 ft (240 cm), with normal proportions. Greater susceptibility to infection, injury, and metabolic disorders shortens the life span. Surgery or radiation can be employed to curtail further growth. Gigantism often occurs with acromegaly.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on gigantism, visit Britannica.com.