What is Cushing’s Syndrome?
Cushing’s syndrome is a term used to describe a wide range of symptoms triggered by high levels of a hormone called cortisol.
Cushing’s syndrome usually occurs as a side effect of treatment with corticosteroids. This form of Cushing’s syndrome is sometimes called iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome.
A much less common cause of Cushing’s syndrome is where a tumour develops inside one of the glands in the body, causing the gland to produce an excessive amount of hormones.
How common is Cushing’s Syndrome?
Women are five times more likely to develop endogenous Cushing’s syndrome than men. Cushing’s syndrome is most likely to occur between the ages of 25 and 40.
What are the symptoms of Cushing’s Syndrome?
Cushing’s Syndrome causes weight gain and fatty deposits. Sufferers tend to have very slim arms and legs compared to the chest and stomach, deposits of fat on the back of the neck and shoulders, and a red and puffy face. The skin also becomes thin and easily bruised, stretch marks will appear on the limbs, spots may appear on the face, chest of shoulders and legs will swell due to a build-up of fluid.
Cushing’s syndrome will also affect bones and muscles, mental health and blood pressure.
How is Cushing’s Syndrome treated?
The main treatment for people with iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome is to lower of withdraw their corticosteroid dosage.
If you have endogenous Cushing’s syndrome that's caused by tumours, you could be treated by cortisol inhibiting medicines, surgery or radiotherapy.
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