Gigantism

By: KKTV 11 News
By: KKTV 11 News

Watch the National Basketball Association and you’ll see giants like Shaq and Yao Ming. Each are over 7-foot. But when is tall, “too” tall?

Robert Wadlow is the tallest man on record. He was nearly 9-feet tall, but his height wasn't natural. He suffered from a rare disease called gigantism. Now there are treatments available for this rare condition.

"6th grade--I was 6 feet. Freshman year of high school---it was pretty intimidating to the seniors." Mitchell Lane, age 19, is now holding steady at 7-foot-2. “I love being tall. The only disadvantage of being tall is you’ve got to watch your head.”

Instead of ducking the issue, Mitch looked for answers about why he is so tall. “I realized I might have gigantism, so I decided to do a research project on it.”

After his project and visit to the doctor, Mitch found he had a non-cancerous tumor in his pituitary gland. It was producing excess growth hormone. Dr. William Young says Mitch had to have the tumor surgically removed. “If it wasn't, his fingers, feet, forehead jaw and even tongue, would have eventually grown out of proportion.”

Some of the other symptoms of gigantism include headaches and excess sweating. People who don't get treatment for this condition are at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

And yes, Mitch plays basketball and he's good at it. But he'd rather spend time being inspired and inspiring others. "The music touches people. You see people with their hands in the air praising God.” Mitch loves to sing, and at 7-2, he always has a good seat and a good view in church.


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