Las Vegas teenager Tanya Angus was a tall, pretty girl. At 5 feet 8 inches tall, she stood slightly above some of her school friends. But then, in 1999, she suddenly began to gain both weight and height. When she passed away, she stood 7 feet 2 inches tall and weighed nearly 400 pounds.
What happened? Tanya had developed a non-cancerous tumor on her pituitary gland. This resulted in the
development of a rare disorder called acromegaly. Her body was releasing too much growth hormone, and there was no way to control it.
Tanya’s case is typical of adult acromegaly. Victims develop a benign, or noncancerous tumor on the
pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain. This gland produces several hormones besides the growth hormone, but in Tanya’s case it was the growth hormone that caused the worst of her medical problems. It was this hormone that caused her bones and other tissues to grow out of control. The pressure created by the growing tumor causes headaches and impaired vision.
Tanya must have gone through hell. She needed specially made shoes and could not wear pullover shirts or sweaters. Jewelers stretched her rings to size 20 and added chain to her necklaces. Eventually she ended up in a wheelchair. She ate one meal per day, but some people believed that she lacked the discipline to control her weight. Her medications caused her face to swell.
Eventually, Tanya became an advocate for others suffering from acromegaly. But her life ended suddenly
when she caught a cold and developed a fatal tear in her heart.
Tanya’s story is one of the courage of a young woman. It also points out that even though acromegaly is a
relatively rare disease, there is much work to be done to find a way to control and secure it for the sake of its victims and their families. I hope someone takes up Tanya’s cause and provides help for those helpless sufferers.
There’s more information about acromegaly at this site