Like Local 3 News on Facebook:
Jim Pritchard knows if he doesn't pay attention, his garden will grow out of control. The same could have happened with Pritchard's health.
Pritchard says, "If I had let it go too much longer, it could have pressed on the optic nerve and could have affected my eyesight."
Pritchard went in for a routine doctor's visit, where an enlarged thyroid was detected.
Dr. Maria Fleseriu, an endocrinologist at Oregon Health & Science University says, "There are patients that are missed for years and years because they didn't present with very clear symptoms and nobody thought about the possibility of a pituitary tumor."
Specialists at Oregon Health and Science University did spot the tumor squeezing Pritchard's pituitary gland and sent him to surgery.
Pritchard says, "That was quite an experience, the operation itself, because they go up through the nose, grab hold of that tumor and collapse it."
Pituitary gland tumors are usually benign, but they can cause a host of problems that often show up as blurred or double vision, dizzy spells. They can develop into Cushing's disease, or in the case of Pritchard, abnormal growth called Acromegaly.
Dr. Fleseriu says, "Older data shows that the mortality can be increased up to four times for Cushing's that's not treated and for Acromegaly it's usually doubled."
With medication, Pritchard hasn't had any significant health issues for the past eight years. With Acromegaly, people often don't notice symptoms until it is brought to their attention by comparing current and old photographs.
Some famous people who had the pituitary disorder include Andre the Giant, Lurch from the Addams Family and Herman Munster from the Munsters.