Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do people take human growth hormone?"
I'm 44 and starting to get nervous about getting old. I've heard about human growth hormone but don't understand what it is. Can it make you younger? Is it safe?
Human growth hormone is an essential hormone produced by the body in small amounts throughout the life span. It is most important, however, in young people as it is critical for linear growth (height). The most common use for human growth hormone is therefore in young people who are short, either because of genetics or because of an underlying medical problem. This is the only use of growth hormone for which there is good evidence. The treatments are very expensive, but they do lead to an increase in height in this population. There have been some experimental uses of growth hormone in the elderly to reverse some of these features of aging. However, these experiments have not shown universally good results, and the experiments have been done in people much older than you. At this time using growth hormone for aging is not an standard medical procedure. The best way to monitor the effects of aging is to have regular annual check ups with your doctor. The purpose of these examinations is to monitor your over all health and detect and control conditions that could lead to problems down the road, such as high blood pressure and problems with your cholesterol.