What is it?
Cushing's syndrome occurs when your body is exposed to high levels of the hormone cortisol for a long time.
How do I recognise it?
- Weight gain, particularly around your midsection and upper back
- Muscle weakness
- Rounding of your face (moon face)
- Facial flushing
- Fatty pad or hump between your shoulders (buffalo hump)
- Pink or purple stretch marks (striae) on the skin of your abdomen, thighs, breasts and arms
- Thin and fragile skin that bruises easily
- Slow healing of cuts, insect bites and infections
- Depression, anxiety and irritability
- Loss of emotional control
- Thicker or more visible body and facial hair (hirsutism)
- Irregular or absent menstrual periods in females
- Decreased libido
- Erectile dysfunction in males
- New or worsened high blood pressure
- Glucose intolerance that may lead to diabetes
- Bone loss, leading to fractures over time
Your adrenal glands produce cortisol along with other hormones. When there is too much cortisol in your blood over a long period of time you develop cushing's syndrome.
Taking corticosteroids over a long period of time can raise the cortisol levels in your blood enough to cause cushing's.
Your body's own overproduction
Your body may just produce too much cortisol by itself due to:
- A pituitary gland tumor.
- An ectopic ACTH-secreting tumor.
- A primary adrenal gland disease.
How do you treat it?
Like any disease, even if there is no cure, there is almost always something you can do to manage it and take control. There are three main areas involved in the treatment of any disease:
Learn all about the drugs used to treat the disease and any complementary medicines or therapies proven to help. Equip yourself with the tools to manage the condition and not be managed by it.
How do you live with it?
Certain adjustments may be needed to get on with your life, and often, some simple tips and advice can go a long way to making these changes.
When you come to a Lynch's Pharmacy Clinic, we provide you all the necessary information available to make your life more manageable and allow you to better live with your condition.
Cushing's Syndrome, information for patients http://www.cks.nhs.uk/patient_information_leaflet/cushings_syndrome