We ran a social media awareness campaign which reached over 60,000 people. Including publicising stories from patients who were diagnosed by their dentist. We targeted organisations working in the field of dentistry, and publicised our campaign materials including awareness leaflet. Approximately 2700 copies of the leaflet were circulated.
We also encouraged our members and volunteers to help spread awareness to their dentists.
We encouraged Dentists to look for changes to a patients oral cavity, and if this had changed, suggest they ask their GP for their growth hormone and IGF-1levels to be checked, and ask for a referral to an endocrinologist.
Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder that results from too much growth hormone in the body. Symptoms dentists might spot: changes in oral cavity, enlarged lips, nose and tongue, changes to jaw, and gaps between teeth.
It can take up to 10 years for patients to be diagnosed with acromegaly and it can damage the internal organs if left untreated this long. If a dentists can diagnose acromegaly in its earlier stages it can result in significant improvements to quality of life later.
The diagnosis is often delayed as the symptoms develop gradually over time, and patients and families may not notice the changes.
Studies show that untreated acromegalic patients are more likely to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems with a reduced life expectancy compared to the normal population. These can be improved after successful treatment.
British Medical Journal states
Craniofacial soft tissue and skeletal changes including mandibular prognathism and disturbed occlusion are typical manifestations of the disease process. Dental professionals may be the first healthcare providers to be visited by these patients and thereby prove instrumental in early diagnosis’
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