IGF-1, LC/MS Most Popular

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: IGF-1, IGFI LCMS, Insulin-Like Growth Factor, Insulin-like Growth Factor - 1, Somatomedin C, Somatomedin-C

Igf I, LC/MS

The insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) test is an indirect measure of the average amount of growth hormone (GH) being produced by the body. IGF-1 and GH are polypeptide hormones, small proteins that are vital for normal bone and tissue growth and development. GH is produced by the pituitary gland, a grape-sized gland located at the base of the brain behind the bridge of your nose. GH is secreted into the bloodstream in pulses throughout the day and night with peaks that occur mostly during the night. IGF-1 is produced by the liver and skeletal muscle as well as many other tissues in response to GH stimulation. IGF-1 mediates many of the actions of GH, stimulating the growth of bones and other tissues and promoting the production of lean muscle mass. IGF-1 mirrors GH excesses and deficiencies, but its level is stable throughout the day, making it a useful indicator of average GH levels.

Z Score (Female)

z Score. A z-score (aka, a standard score) indicates how many standard deviations an element is from the mean. A z-score can be calculated from the following formula. z = (X - µ) / s where z is the z-score, X is the value of the element, µ is the population mean, and s is the standard deviation.
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The IGF-1, LC/MS test contains 1 test with 2 biomarkers.

Brief Description: The IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1) test is a laboratory test that measures the level of IGF-1 in the blood. IGF-1 is a hormone produced by the liver in response to stimulation by growth hormone (GH). It plays a crucial role in promoting growth and development, as well as regulating various metabolic processes in the body.

Also Known As: Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 Test, Somatomedin-C Test, IGF1 Test, IGF-I Test, IGF Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a IGF-1 test ordered?

An IGF-1 test may be ordered in the following situations:

  1. Evaluation of Growth Disorders: It is commonly ordered in children and adolescents who exhibit signs of growth disorders, such as short stature or delayed growth. The test helps assess the production and effectiveness of growth hormone in promoting growth.

  2. Monitoring Growth Hormone Therapy: Individuals receiving growth hormone replacement therapy, typically for conditions like growth hormone deficiency or Turner syndrome, may undergo regular IGF-1 testing to monitor treatment effectiveness and adjust dosages if necessary.

  3. Assessment of Acromegaly or Gigantism: In adults, the test can aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of conditions like acromegaly and gigantism, which result from excessive production of growth hormone.

What does a a IGF-1 blood test check for?

Insulin-like growth factor-1 is a hormone that, together with growth hormone, aids in the normal growth and development of bones and tissues. The test determines how much IGF-1 is present in the blood.

In response to GH stimulation, the liver and skeletal muscle, as well as many other tissues, create IGF-1. Many of GH's activities are mediated by IGF-1, which promotes the growth of bones and other tissues as well as the synthesis of lean muscle mass. It's difficult to interpret the findings of a single GH test because GH is released into the blood in pulses throughout the day. IGF-1 levels are similar to GH excesses and deficiencies, however unlike GH, they are steady throughout the day. As a result, IGF-1 can be used to estimate average GH levels. As a result, the IGF-1 test is frequently used to determine if a person has GH deficit or excess.

IGF-1 levels, like GH, start low in early childhood, progressively rise throughout childhood, peak at puberty, and then fall in adulthood. A malfunctioning pituitary gland with diminished pituitary hormones or the presence of a non-GH-producing pituitary tumor that destroys hormone-producing cells can induce GH and IGF-1 deficiencies. Where there is a lack of response to GH, IGF-1 deficiencies can also emerge. Conditions such as starvation, hypothyroidism, sex hormone insufficiency, and chronic disorders can cause this insensitivity. Genetic GH insensitivity is quite uncommon.

Early-life IGF-1 deficit, which is usually caused by GH shortage, can stifle bone growth and development, resulting in a child who is shorter than average in stature. Reduced production in adults can result in a loss of bone density, muscular mass, and lipid levels. Adults with lower bone density and/or muscle strength, as well as elevated lipids, are not routinely tested for IGF-1 deficiency, or GH deficit. A extremely rare cause of these illnesses is GH deficit, which leads to IGF-1 deficiency.

Excess GH and IGF-1 can induce acromegaly and gigantism, two rare disorders characterized by abnormal skeleton growth and other signs and symptoms. Gigantism causes bones to grow longer in children, resulting in a person who is unusually tall and has huge feet and hands. Acromegaly is a condition that causes bones to thicken and soft tissues, such as the nose, to enlarge in adults. Both disorders can cause organ enlargement, such as the heart, as well as additional problems like type 2 diabetes, a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, and a shorter lifespan.

A GH-producing pituitary tumor is the most common cause of excessive GH secretion in the pituitary. Surgical removal of the tumor and/or treatment with medicines or radiation are frequently options. In most situations, GH and IGF-1 levels will revert to normal or near normal levels as a result of this.

Lab tests often ordered with a IGF-1 test:

When an IGF-1 test is ordered, it is often part of a broader evaluation for growth disorders, pituitary function, and other related conditions. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside an IGF-1 test:

  1. Growth Hormone (GH) Test:

    • Purpose: Measures the level of growth hormone in the blood.
    • Why Is It Ordered: GH directly influences IGF-1 production. Testing GH levels can help diagnose GH deficiency or excess (such as acromegaly or gigantism) and can provide context for interpreting IGF-1 levels.
  2. Liver Function Test:

    • Purpose: To evaluate liver health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: The liver produces IGF-1 in response to growth hormone stimulation, so liver dysfunction can affect IGF-1 levels.
  3. Thyroid Function Tests (TSH, Free T3, Free T4):

    • Purpose: To assess thyroid function.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Thyroid hormones can influence growth and development; disorders like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can impact growth hormone metabolism and IGF-1 levels.
  4. Glucose and Insulin Tests:

    • Purpose: To measure blood sugar and insulin levels.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Growth hormone and IGF-1 can affect glucose metabolism; these tests can help evaluate for diabetes or insulin resistance, which may be associated with GH disorders.
  5. Sex Hormone Tests (Testosterone, Estrogen):

    • Purpose: To measure levels of sex hormones.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Sex hormones influence growth and development, and their levels can provide additional context for growth assessments, particularly in puberty.
  6. Nutritional Markers (such as Vitamin D, Iron, and Protein Levels):

    • Purpose: To evaluate nutritional status.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Nutrition plays a critical role in growth and development, and deficiencies can impact IGF-1 levels.

These tests, when ordered alongside an IGF-1 test, help provide a comprehensive view of a person's growth hormone activity, overall endocrine function, and health status. They are particularly useful in diagnosing and managing disorders of growth, pituitary gland function, and related metabolic conditions. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual's symptoms, medical history, and initial test results.

Conditions where a IGF-1 test is recommended:

An IGF-1 test may be necessary in the following conditions or diseases:

  1. Growth Hormone Deficiency: Children suspected of having growth hormone deficiency may undergo an IGF-1 test to confirm the diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment approach.

  2. Turner Syndrome: Girls with Turner syndrome, a genetic condition characterized by short stature and other features, often undergo IGF-1 testing to assess their growth potential and guide management decisions.

  3. Acromegaly and Gigantism: These conditions result from excessive production of growth hormone, and IGF-1 testing is used to aid in diagnosis, monitor treatment response, and assess disease control.

How does my healthcare provider use a IGF-1 test?

Healthcare providers use the results of the IGF-1 test to:

  1. Assess Growth Status: In children and adolescents, the test helps evaluate growth potential and identify any growth hormone-related abnormalities.

  2. Diagnose and Monitor Growth Disorders: Abnormal IGF-1 levels, along with other clinical information, can aid in diagnosing growth hormone deficiency, acromegaly, or gigantism. Subsequent IGF-1 testing is used to monitor treatment effectiveness and adjust therapy as needed.

  3. Evaluate Treatment Response: For individuals receiving growth hormone replacement therapy, periodic IGF-1 testing allows healthcare providers to evaluate treatment response, ensure optimal dosing, and monitor long-term outcomes.

It is important to note that the interpretation and application of IGF-1 test results should be performed by qualified healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable about the specific assay methodology and reference ranges. The results should be considered in conjunction with the patient's clinical presentation and other relevant factors to guide appropriate diagnosis and treatment decisions.

What do my IGF-1 test results mean?

A normal IGF-1 level must be viewed in context. Even if a person has a GH shortage, their IGF-1 level can be normal.

If the IGF-1 level is low, it's likely that you have a GH deficiency or a GH insensitivity. If this occurs in a child, the GH shortage may already have resulted in low height and delayed development, which can be corrected with GH supplementation. Adults will see a decline in production as they get older, but lower than normal levels could indicate a GH deficiency or insensitivity.

If a drop in IGF-1 is thought to be the result of a more general loss in pituitary function, multiple other endocrine glands and their pituitary-regulating chemicals will need to be assessed before treatment can be determined. Reduced pituitary function can occur as a result of genetic abnormalities or as a result of pituitary injury caused by trauma, infections, or inflammation.

Nutritional deficits, chronic kidney or liver disease, inactive/ineffective forms of GH, and excessive estrogen dosages can all cause IGF-1 levels to drop.

Greater IGF-1 levels usually imply increased GH synthesis. IGF-1 levels are a representation of average GH production, not the actual quantity of GH in the blood at the time the sample for the IGF-1 measurement was obtained, because GH levels vary throughout the day. This is correct up until the liver's capacity for IGF-1 production is achieved. The IGF-1 level will stabilize at an enhanced maximal level with drastically increased GH production.

Increased GH and IGF-1 levels are typical throughout puberty and pregnancy, although pituitary tumors are the most common cause.

If IGF-1 levels remain elevated after a pituitary tumor has been surgically removed, the surgery may not have been completely successful. The treatment is reducing GH production if IGF-1 levels decrease with successive medication and/or radiation therapies. If IGF-1 levels return to "normal," the person is no longer making excessive amounts of GH. An increase in IGF-1 levels may suggest a return of the pituitary tumor when someone is being monitored for a long time.

Most Common Questions About the IGF-1 test:

Understanding the IGF-1 Test and Its Importance

What is the IGF-1 test?

The IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1) test is a blood test that measures the amount of IGF-1 in the blood. IGF-1 is a hormone that, along with growth hormone (GH), helps promote normal bone and tissue growth and development.

What is the purpose of an IGF-1 test?

The IGF-1 test is often used to support a diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency or growth hormone excess. Because IGF-1 levels are more stable throughout the day compared to growth hormone levels, they provide a useful indication of average growth hormone activity.

Who might need an IGF-1 test?

An IGF-1 test may be recommended for individuals with signs and symptoms of abnormal growth hormone production. This can include children who are growing slowly and have delayed development or adults who have symptoms of acromegaly (abnormal growth caused by too much growth hormone), such as enlarged hands and feet, facial changes, or joint pain.

Interpreting Results and Abnormal Findings

What do normal results on an IGF-1 test look like?

Normal ranges for IGF-1 levels depend on age and sex, as they are highest in puberty and gradually decrease as you age. Specific values can vary between labs, but a healthcare provider will be able to interpret the results in the context of individual patient demographics.

What could high levels of IGF-1 in test results indicate?

High levels of IGF-1 may suggest an excess of growth hormone, possibly due to a condition like acromegaly or a pituitary tumor. However, a single test result is not enough to diagnose these conditions. Other tests, such as a growth hormone suppression test, may be needed for a definite diagnosis.

What could low levels of IGF-1 in test results indicate?

Low levels of IGF-1 could suggest a deficiency in growth hormone. This might be due to damage to the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, genetic disorders, or other unknown causes. Further testing would be needed to confirm a diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency.

Discussion with Healthcare Provider and Relationship with Other Tests

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider after receiving the results of my IGF-1 test?

It's important to discuss the implications of your results, potential underlying conditions, further tests, and potential treatment options. Your healthcare provider can help you understand what your results mean in the context of your symptoms, medical history, and other test results.

How does the IGF-1 test relate to a growth hormone test?

The IGF-1 test is often used in conjunction with a growth hormone test to evaluate suspected growth hormone disorders. While growth hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day and are difficult to measure accurately, IGF-1 levels are more stable and reflect average growth hormone activity.

What other tests might be ordered if my IGF-1 test results are abnormal?

If your IGF-1 test results are abnormal, your healthcare provider may order additional tests to further evaluate your growth hormone levels. This might include a growth hormone stimulation or suppression test, an MRI of the pituitary gland, or other hormone tests.

Understanding the Implications and Health Impact

What is IGF-1 and why is it important for health?

IGF-1 is a hormone that helps promote normal growth and development, particularly during childhood and adolescence. It is also involved in muscle and bone strength throughout life. Abnormal levels of IGF-1 can lead to health issues like growth hormone deficiency or excess.

What are the symptoms of having high or low IGF-1 levels?

High IGF-1 levels can lead to symptoms of acromegaly in adults, including enlarged hands and feet, facial changes, and joint pain. In children, high levels can cause gigantism, characterized by large stature and rapid growth. Low IGF-1 levels can lead to growth hormone deficiency, with symptoms including slow growth and development in children and changes in muscle mass, cholesterol levels, and bone health in adults.

What long-term health issues can be caused by abnormal IGF-1 levels?

Long-term health issues associated with high IGF-1 levels can include joint problems, cardiovascular disease, and an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Low IGF-1 levels, indicating growth hormone deficiency, can lead to growth problems in children and metabolic complications in adults.

Prevention, Risk Management, and Further Research

Can lifestyle changes influence the results of an IGF-1 test?

While lifestyle factors can influence overall health and hormone balance, specific changes to influence IGF-1 levels are not well established. It is important to follow a healthy lifestyle and manage any underlying conditions that could impact your hormone levels.

How does the IGF-1 test aid in the diagnosis of growth disorders?

The IGF-1 test can provide important information about growth hormone activity in the body. Along with other tests, it helps healthcare providers diagnose growth disorders, determine their severity, and monitor the effectiveness of treatment.

What research is being done on IGF-1 and its impact on health?

Research is being conducted to further understand the role of IGF-1 in health and disease. Potential areas of interest include the use of IGF-1 in treating growth hormone deficiency, muscle wasting diseases, and even neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease. However, more research is needed to fully understand these potential applications.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

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