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What can I Expect During Human Growth Hormone Testing?

By A. Garrett
Updated May 17, 2024
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Typically, a blood test is required for human growth hormone (HGH) testing. An individual who is to undergo human growth hormone testing will usually be asked for eight to ten hours, and may also be asked to abstain from the taking of any medications. Blood will be drawn, then sent to a lab for processing. Results of the testing will indicate whether a person's HGH levels are normal, elevated, or low.

Human growth hormone levels are measured by a growth hormone (GH) test. Children that have increased height or have lost growth in comparison to the normal height distribution for their age may be tested to detect gigantism or dwarfism. In adults, HGH replacement therapy — or high levels of HGH in general — may disrupt the metabolism and cause tissues to enlarge, resulting in a condition known as acromegaly.

Certain prerequisites must be satisfied before human growth hormone testing is conducted. A doctor may require a patient to fast for 8 to 10 hours before administering the test. Abstaining from eating is required because certain foods may alter the blood or hormones and cause an inaccurate test result. Medications such as birth control, insulin, aspirin, and amphetamines also alter hormone levels in a manner that would interfere with hormone testing. As a result, a doctor may require that a patient cease taking his or her prescription medications prior to human growth hormone testing.

In order to withdraw blood for human growth hormone testing, a doctor or nurse will wrap an elastic band or some other type of constricting around the patient's arm so that blood flow is restricted and veins are easier to delineate. A sterilized needle will then be used to fill a vile with the patients blood. Once a suitable amount of blood has been collected, pressure will be applied to the site where the needle made contact so that bleeding associated with the needle stops. Finally, a bandage is placed over the area to prevent infection and speed up the heeling process.

Potential recipients of human growth hormone testing should be aware of several possible side effects associated with having blood withdrawn. First, if not enough pressure is applied following the procedure, bruising may occur on the skin. Secondly, the vein where the blood is taken from may become swollen causing severe discomfort. Finally, patients with thin blood due to a blood clotting disorder or too much aspirin consumption may experience prolonged bleeding.

The samples taken for human growth hormone testing are sent to labs for scientific testing. Appropriate amounts of HGH vary based on gender and age. For men, the blood should contain less than five nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of HGH. Women should expect to have less than 10 ng/mL of hgh in their blood. Children’s blood levels should contain less than 20 ng/mL.

Higher or lower levels of HGH in the blood identify possible ailments. High amounts of hgh indicates gigantism in children and acromegacy in adults. An HGH deficiency may suggest dwarfism in children and a pituitary gland issue in adults.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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