Cushing's Syndrome

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What is it?

  • it is a disorder from long exposure of the hormone "cortisol" to body tissues.
  • It is most commonly caused by receiving excessive amount of cortisol form horimonal drugs but can also occur from tumors in glands.
  • also reffered to as hypercortisolism

How does it effect the body?

  • It causes upper body body obesity, especially aorund and behind the neck. It also cause your face to appear more rounded.
  • Your skin becomes thinner and you are more susceptible to bruises and abrasions.
  • Your bones also become weaker and you are more likely to fracture them.
  • In women, menstrual cycle becomes irregular and grow more hair on face and other areas on the body.
  • Men have decreased sperm count and dereased desire for sex.

Symptoms


  • upper body obesity
  • severe fatigue
  • depression
  • weakened bones
  • stretch marks on upper body
  • high blood pressure

Who it affects

  • It is most common in adults ages 2 to 50.
  • Increased risk of getting this disorder if you have diabetes, obese and if you take horimonal steriods tat are similar to cortisol.
  • It can also occur in dogs.

How it is diagnosed

  • 24 hour urinary test- most common test, where urine is sampled throughout the day and is tested for high levels of cortisol.
  • Midnight cortisol test- because cortisol is not produced at night, blood is taken throughout the entire day to see if increased count at night.

What can be done

  • If it is caused by prescribed drugs, doctors slowly cycle patient off the drugs or change the pattern the drug is taken in.
  • If caused by tumor, doctors remove tumor or fight it with radiation therapy.
  • Tumors that lead to excessive production of cortisol are usually found in pituitary gland or adrenal glands.

Prevention

  • only way to prevent it is to catch it at early stage

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References

  1. http://endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/cushings/cushings.htm
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cushings-syndrome/DS00470
  3. http://www.vitalifenetworks.com/images/Cortisol_image.jpg
  4. http://cushings.homestead.com/introduction.html