Blood sample tube for growth hormone test

What Will Happen If I Have Low Growth Hormone Levels?

by Medical Review Board

Low growth hormone (GH) levels, also known as growth hormone deficiency (GHD), can have various effects on the body, including potential impacts on other hormone levels. Here are some ways in which low GH levels may negatively impact hormone levels and overall health:

Disruption of the Growth Hormone-Insulin-Like Growth Factor (GH-IGF) Axis

Growth hormone is crucial in stimulating the liver to produce insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). IGF-1, in turn, promotes the growth and development of various tissues and organs. Low GH levels can reduce IGF-1 production, potentially affecting growth and development, especially in children.

Impact on Thyroid Hormones

Low GH levels may affect the function of the thyroid gland and result in decreased thyroid hormone production. This can lead to symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue, weight gain, and cold intolerance.

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Influence on Gonadal Hormones

Growth hormone deficiency can lead to disruptions in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, which regulates sex hormone production. Low GH levels may affect the secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), potentially resulting in imbalances in sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen.

Impact on Cortisol

Growth hormone deficiency may affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which regulates the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. Changes in cortisol levels can affect the body’s response to stress and impact overall health.

Psychological and Metabolic Effects

Low GH levels can lead to a range of psychological and metabolic effects, including reduced energy levels, increased fat mass, decreased muscle mass, and impaired lipid and glucose metabolism.

It’s important to note that the specific impact of low GH levels on hormone balance can vary from person to person and depends on factors such as the cause and severity of the growth hormone deficiency. Additionally, the symptoms and health effects of GH deficiency may differ in children and adults.