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What is Cushing's Syndrome

Updated on October 29, 2014

Cushing's syndrome, sometimes called "hypercortisolism", is a hormonal disorder that is caused by prolonged exposure of the body's tissues to high levels of the hormone cortisol. This syndrome can lead to many symptoms that one can suffer from, until treatment is attained.

What are the syptoms of cushing's syndrome?

  • Upper body obesity
  • A rounded face
  • Increased fat around the neck
  • Relatively slender arms and legs
  • Stretch Marks on the abdomen
  • Excess hair growth on women
  • Severe fatique
  • Weak Muscles
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood glucose
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Fatty hump inbetween shoulders

What are the cause's of Cushing's Syndrome

  • Cushings syndrome occurs when the body's tissues are exposed to high levels of cortisol for too long.
  • Many people may develop cushing's syndrome because they take glucocorticoids-steroid hormones that are chemically similar to naturally produced cortisol.
  • For example:
  • Prednisone for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other inflammatory diseases.
  • Adrenal tumor or tumors can cause the adrenal glands to secrete excessive amounts of cortisol.
  • Cushing's Disease: ACTH - Dependent tumor can cause the ACTH to be secreted at excessive levels as well. this is a tumor in the pituitary gland.
  • Ectopic Cushing's Syndrome: This tumor or tumors can be located somewhere other than the pituitary gland and most commonly in the lungs.

Tests To Diagnose Cushing's Syndrome

The Three Most commmon tests are:

  • The 24 hour urinary free cortisol test
  • The measurement of midnight plasma cortisol
  • The low dose dexamethasone suppression test

Who gets cushing's syndrome?

Most cases, are not inherited.

Cushing syndrome is rare, and it affects adults ages 20 to 50 years of age.

People who are overweight or obese.

People who have Type 2 diabetis.

People who have poorly controlled blood glucose.

Treatments of Cushing's Syndrome

Treatments can include:

  • Medication can be used to lower cortisol levels.
  • Surgery (surgical removal of a small, well-defined pituitary adenoma. ( this pituitary is located at the base of the brain)
  • Radiation or chemotherapy can be useful in the treatment of pituitary tumors that cannot be comepletely removed by surgery. This can reduce cortisol levels by half. This can take about 3 to 24 months and other medications can be given until the radiation has done its job.
  • Adrenalectomy is another option. This is the surgical removal of adrenal glands. This would be a last resort, if all other methods have been tried unsuccessfully. This surgery would completely stop cortisol production and you would have to rely on mineralocorticoid replacement therapy and lifelong daily use of glucoriticoids.
  • There are many forms of treatment depending on what is causing Cushing's syndrome.

Treatment for Cushing's Syndrome that is medication associated:

  • When its caused my glucocorticoids that are taken for another medical condition, by discontinueing the medication, this would relieve symptoms.
  • However, if the body is dependant on the levels of glucocorticoids, you would have to gradually discontinue the medication to allow the pituitary and adrenal glands to go back to normal.

What Methods of treatment for Cushing's Syndrome did you use?

What methods of treatment for Cushing's Syndrome did you use?

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In conclusion, Cushing's Syndrome is treatable, depending on what is causing it. But it is best to seek Medical advice, and get a diagnosis, to start treatment right away. I hope I have helped inform you on what it is as well as what you can do about it. Please see my other articles on health, recipes and so much more

God Bless You!



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