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Cushing's syndrome is a hormonal disorder. The cause is long-term exposure to too much cortisol, a hormone that your adrenal gland makes. Sometimes, taking synthetic hormone medicine to treat an inflammatory disease leads to Cushing's. Some kinds of tumors produce a hormone that can cause your body to make too much cortisol.

Cushing's syndrome is rare. Some symptoms are

  • Upper body obesity
  • Thin arms and legs
  • Severe fatigue and muscle weakness
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Easy bruising

Lab tests can show if you have it and find the cause. Your treatment will depend on why you have too much cortisol. If it is because you have been taking synthetic hormones, a lower dose may control your symptoms. If the cause is a tumor, surgery and other therapies may be needed.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Cushing's Syndrome

The following features are indicative of Cushing's Syndrome:
  • high blood pressure
  • abdominal obesity but with thin arms and legs
  • reddish stretch marks, a round red face
  • a fat lump between the shoulders
  • weak muscles
  • weak bones
  • acne
  • fragile skin
  • women may have more hair and irregular menstruation
  • changes in mood
  • headache
  • chronic feeling of tiredness

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Common Causes of Cushing's Syndrome

The following are the most common causes of Cushing's Syndrome:
  • excess production of cortisol hormone

Risk Factors for Cushing's Syndrome

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Cushing's Syndrome:
  • repeated injections for joint pain, bursitis and back pain

Prevention of Cushing's Syndrome

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Cushing's Syndrome. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • take hot baths
  • monitor mental health
  • eat nutritious food

Occurrence of Cushing's Syndrome

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Cushing's Syndrome cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Cushing's Syndrome most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 20-35 years

Common Gender

Cushing's Syndrome can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Cushing's Syndrome

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Cushing's Syndrome:
  • Urine and blood tests: To measure hormone levels in the urine and blood and check whether body is producing excessive cortisol
  • Saliva test: To check the cortisol levels throughout the day
  • Imaging tests: To produce images of the pituitary and adrenal glands and to detect abnormalities such as tumors
  • Petrosal sinus sampling: To determine whether the cause of endogenous Cushing syndrome is rooted in the pituitary or somewhere else

Doctor for Diagnosis of Cushing's Syndrome

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Cushing's Syndrome:
  • Endocrinologist

Complications of Cushing's Syndrome if untreated

Yes, Cushing's Syndrome causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Cushing's Syndrome is left untreated:
  • osteoporosis
  • rib fractures and fractures of the bones in the feet
  • high blood pressure
  • type 2 diabetes
  • frequent or unusual infections
  • loss of muscle mass and strength

Procedures for Treatment of Cushing's Syndrome

The following procedures are used to treat Cushing's Syndrome:
  • Surgery: To remove the tumor surgically
  • Radiation therapy: To kill cancer cells

Self-care for Cushing's Syndrome

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Cushing's Syndrome:
  • Increase physical activities slowly: Helps to treat condition more efficiently
  • Eat sensibly: Helps strengthening bones, counteracting the bone density loss

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Cushing's Syndrome

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Cushing's Syndrome:
  • Massage therapy: Helps alleviating some of the muscle and joint pain
  • Do low-impact exercises: Helps alleviating some of the muscle and joint pain
  • Tai chi therapy: Helps alleviating some of the muscle and joint pain

Time for Treatment of Cushing's Syndrome

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Cushing's Syndrome to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Cushing's Syndrome.

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