What is Cushing’s Disease?

What is Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s Disease is when there is an excess of cortisol in the blood stream due to a pituaitary tumour

Cushing’s Disease is a condition which causes the pituitary gland (that belongs in the endocrine system) releases too much of ACTH. Cushing’s Disease is not the same as Cushing’s Syndrome. The two are different in that Cushing’s Syndrome is a general state where there is an excessive level of cortisol in the blood, whereas Cushing’s Disease is when it is a pituitary tumour that causes this excessive cortisol.

Symptoms:  Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease can include but are not limited to:

  • Acne
  • Backache
  • Upper body obesity
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Infections and wounds on the skin that don’t heal easily
  • Weak muscles and bones
  • Fatigue

With more women than men being affected by Cushing’s Disease, some of the symptoms that are evident in women include an increase in facial hair and irregularity in their menstrual cycle. In men, symptoms can also include a diminished libido and sometimes, impotence.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The tests and the exams that are normally recommended to diagnose Cushing’s Disease include one to test the amount of cortisol in the body by testing the saliva and urine. To determine the cause of the cortisol a Blood ACTH, a brain MRI or sometimes a IPSS test may also be recommended.

Treatment for Cushing’s Disease is usually the removal of the tumour of the pituitary gland, after which the pituitary gland starts to function normally again. But during the recovery process from the surgery, cortisol replacements have to be taken until the pituitary gland functions normally.

Though removal of the tumour is an effective way of treating Cushing’s Disease, there is always a chance that it will recur, so consistent monitoring is important. Living with Cushing’s Disease

Living with Cushing’s Disease 

Though it can mean changes to the way of life, a diagnosis of Cushing’s Disease is not the worst. It is possible, that with treatment and continuing monitoring and care to live a full, happy life. Changes will have to be made to lifestyle, diet and will have to include medication that is recommended by the doctor as well.

Here are some tips that can help manage Cushing’s Disease:

  • Ensure that you are getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D. Talk to your doctor if you’re not, to rectify the solution.
  • Take the medicines as directed by the doctor.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol as it may interfere with the medication prescribed.
  • Incorporate regular low impact exercise into your routine.

The Endocrinology Department at the Yashoda Hospitals provides comprehensive testing, diagnosis, treatment and patient education programs for all endocrinal dysfunctions leading to thyroid, obesity, diabetes, infertility and other conditions.

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