The quality of life of adults with growth hormone deficiency: comparison with diabetic patients and control subjects

M E Wallymahmed, P Foy, I A MacFarlane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Adults with GH deficiency (GHD) frequently report a poor quality of life (QOL). Whether this poor QOL is specifically due to hormone deficiency or a non specific effect of a chronic condition is not known. We therefore assessed QOL in adults with hypopituitarism and GHD and compared scores with a group of patients with diabetes mellitus, another life-long condition with potentially serious complications and a group of healthy controls.

PATIENTS: We studied 57 patients with hypopituitarism and GHD (peak stimulated GH response < 9 mU/l) (23 male, mean age 36.4 years, mean stimulated GH response 2.3 mU/l), secondary to a variety of hypothalamic-pituitary disorders. Fifty had been treated surgically (39 cranial surgery, 11 transsphenoidal) and 37 had received external cranial irradiation involving the hypothalamic region. Fifty-seven age and sex matched patients with diabetes mellitus (31 insulin treated, 18 on oral hypoglycaemic agents, 8 on diet alone) and 57 matched healthy controls were also studied.

DESIGN AND MEASUREMENTS: We assessed and compared health related QOL in the 3 groups using 4 self rating questionnaires: Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Self Esteem Scale, Mental Fatigue Questionnaire and Life Fulfilment Scale. In addition the GHD and diabetic groups also completed the Disease Impact Scale.

RESULTS: The GHD group reported significantly more depression (P < 0.05) and mental fatigue (P < 0.05) and significantly less self esteem (P < 0.05) and life fulfilment (P < 0. 05) than either the group with diabetes or the controls. Patients with GHD reported significantly higher anxiety scores (P < 0.05) than the controls. Within the GHD group there were no differences in QOL scores between patients with pituitary tumours (n = 24), craniopharyngiomas/hypothalamic tumours (n = 18) or other brain tumours. In addition there were no significant differences according to surgical treatment modality or radiotherapy. However subgroup analysis revealed that the patients who had undergone transsphenoidal surgery (n = 11) differed significantly from the control group in life fulfillment and depression (P < 0.01) only and did not differ from the DM group in any of the questionnaires used. There were no significant differences between the group with diabetes and the control group in any of the measures except depression (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: This study revealed a significant impairment of QOL in adults with GHD, particularly those who had undergone cranial surgery, when compared to matched patients with diabetes and healthy controls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-8
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1999


  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus/psychology
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone/deficiency
  • Humans
  • Hypopituitarism/psychology
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life
  • Sickness Impact Profile


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