WHAT IS GIGANTISM?
Gigantism, also known as giantism (from Greek γίγας gigas, “giant”, plural γίγαντες gigantes), is a condition characterized by excessive growth and height significantly above average. In humans, this condition is caused by over-production of growth hormone in childhood resulting in persons between 2.13 m (7 feet or 84 inches) and 2.74 m (9 feet or 108 inches) in height.
The world’s tallest woman might finally stop growing after doctors removed a tumour from her brain.
Siddiqa Parveen, who is estimated to be 7ft 8in tall, travelled nearly 1,000 miles from her village in West Bengal for doctors in Delhi to save her life.
Before the operation, the 28-year-old had a spine ‘on the verge of breaking’ and was losing her sight as a result of her continuous growth.
Tall order: Gigantism sufferer Siddiqa Parveen, pictured with her parents, from south Dinajpur, West Bengal, is estimated to be 7ft 8in tall as a result of a tumour on the pituary gland
Siddiqa suffered from gigantism brought on by the tumour, which was located on the pituitary gland, causing it to produce excess growth hormone.
She already had fractures in her spine and has been unable to stand up straight for years – and doctors in India believed if left untreated her increasing weight would cause her back to snap.
They also feared the ‘massive’ tumour would cause her to go blind, forcing them to transport her from her remote village in West Bengal to Delhi.
Neurosurgeon Dr Ashish Suri, of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where Siddiqa was operated on, said the operation had been a success.
Siddiqa’s size saw her recently crowned the world’s tallest woman by Guinness Book of Records – but it caused significant medical challenges.
The 29-year-old Peruvian suffered from gigantism, which caused her breasts to swell up to an N-cup
Latest: The world’s tallest man, Sultan Kosen of Turkey, poses in front of Tower Bridge to celebrate the launch of the 2010 Guinness Book of Records, on Sept. 16, 2009 in London, England. Sultan Kosen was 8 ft 1 in at the time he was measured for the record and also holds the record for the largest hands and largest feet at 27.5cm and 36.5cm respectively. He is currently 8 ft 3 in tall, but U.S. doctors announced in March that with the help of treatment, Kosen has stopped growing.
The rare condition – just 50 cases worldwide – was named after the Greek god Proteus, who could change himself into any shape he desired. It’s characterized by atypical growth of bones and skin, resulting in an asymmetrical body. Gigantism of certain limbs and overgrown fingers are typically observed in sufferers. There are just more than 50 cases reported worldwide, and all of them have been isolated occurrences within different families.
Fact: Gigantism is not caused by ‘sports enhancing’ additives as seen in the Simpsons. It’s actually the result of a tumour growing on the pituitary gland of the brain. In most cases, the disease affects the hands, feet and head but, in extreme circumstances, sufferers have a tendency to extreme height and prefer shopping in Long Tall Sally.