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Growth Hormone Suppression Test Glucose

Growth Hormone Suppression Test Glucose


Your doctor has referred you to have a growth hormone suppression test, which is performed over a two and half hour period. This is to establish whether your pituitary gland is producing too much growth hormone.

During the test blood samples will be taken at half hourly intervals and to allow this to happen easily, with the minimum of discomfort for you, we will be inserting a small tube (a cannula) into a vein in your arm at the start of the test. Baseline samples of blood to measure glucose (sugar) levels and growth hormone levels are taken. Following a 10-15 minute rest further samples of blood are taken and then you will be given a drink of chilled glucose solution, which you will be asked to drink within ten minutes. You will be resting on a reclining chair in the unit for the duration of the test.

Please come fasting, i.e. nothing to eat or drink from midnight except sips of water, and please avoid smoking on the day of the test. You can take all your normal medications as usual, but please bring them with you for us to document. You will be offered a drink and something to eat at the end of the test.

If you have diabetes please let us know before you attend for this test.

You should expect your stay at the hospital to last about three and half hours. You may wish to bring a book or magazine to read. We do have a radio, or you can access Patientline; alternatively you may like to bring your own personal radio/cd player (please bring your own headphones). You may bring someone to stay with you during the test but there is not enough space for more than one person.

Children are discouraged, as this can be disruptive to other patients. However, if this poses a particular problem for you please discuss this with the senior nurse in the unit. You should be able to undertake normal activities after the test is finished and it should not interfere with your ability to drive home.


DO NOT eat anything and limit physical activity for 10 to 12 hours before the test.

You may also be told to stop taking medicines that can affect the test results. These medicines include glucocorticoids such as prednisone, hydrocortisone, or dexamethasone. Check with your health care provider before stopping any medicines.

You will be asked to relax for at least 90 minutes before the test. This is because exercise or increased activity can change GH levels.

If your child is to have this test done, it may be helpful to explain how the test will feel and even demonstrate on a doll. The more familiar your child is with what will happen and why, the less anxiety the child will feel.


When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or slight bruising. This soon goes away.

Result explanation

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.

Results are given in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Normal GH levels should drop to less than 1 or 2 ng/mL after you are given glucose.

If you have higher levels of growth hormone, it means you may have:

Acromegaly in adults. Acromegaly refers to an excessive enlargement of the limbs from the thickening of bones and soft tissue. This is caused by too much GH. In adults who have stopped growing, the areas most affected are the face, jaw, hands, and feet.

Gigantism in children. Gigantism is an abnormal overgrowth of the body caused from the production of too much HG before the growing ends of the bones have closed. A child with this condition may become an unusually tall adult, but the body proportions are usually normal.

Noncancerous pituitary tumor

Nonpituitary tumor, in very rare cases

Higher levels of GH may also be caused by chronic malnutrition, cirrhosis, and stress from surgery or a serious infection.


Growth hormone (hGH) suppression by a glucose load is the classic screening test for acromegaly. In addition, the test may be used to monitor the progress of treatment.

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