IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor 1, is a hormone that is produced by the liver in response to growth hormone stimulation. Here are some reasons why you might consider getting an IGF-1 test:
Growth disorders: An IGF-1 test may be used to evaluate growth disorders in children and adults. IGF-1 levels are directly related to the production of growth hormone, which plays a key role in growth and development. Low levels of IGF-1 may indicate a growth hormone deficiency, while high levels of IGF-1 may indicate an excess of growth hormone.
Acromegaly: IGF-1 levels may also be used to monitor and diagnose acromegaly, a rare condition characterized by excessive growth hormone production in adults. In acromegaly, excess growth hormone stimulates the liver to produce excessive amounts of IGF-1, leading to abnormal growth of bones and tissues.
Athletic performance: Some athletes may use IGF-1 tests to evaluate their levels of growth hormone and IGF-1, which can affect muscle growth, strength, and recovery. However, the use of IGF-1 for this purpose is controversial and not supported by the medical community.
Pituitary function: The IGF-1 test may also be used to evaluate pituitary function, as the pituitary gland produces growth hormone in response to signals from the hypothalamus.
In summary, an IGF-1 test may be used to evaluate growth disorders in children and adults, monitor and diagnose acromegaly, evaluate pituitary function, and assess athletic performance. If you are experiencing symptoms of a growth disorder or acromegaly, or if you are an athlete interested in assessing your levels of growth hormone and IGF-1, your healthcare provider may recommend an IGF-1 test as part of your care.