Cushing's Disease

June 14, 2023

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Cushing's Disease is a rare condition caused by an excess of the hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which helps the body respond to stress and regulates many functions including blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and the immune system.

Cushing's Disease is caused by a non-cancerous tumor in the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain. This tumor causes the pituitary gland to produce too much of the hormone adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which in turn stimulates the adrenal glands to produce too much cortisol.

Symptoms of Cushing's Disease can vary, but may include:

  • Weight gain, particularly around the abdomen and face
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • High blood pressure
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Muscle and bone weakness
  • Skin changes such as thinning, stretch marks, or easy bruising
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Irregular menstrual periods or loss of libido in women

Diagnosis of Cushing's Disease typically involves blood and urine tests to measure cortisol levels, as well as imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans to identify any tumors in the pituitary gland.

Treatment for Cushing's Disease may involve surgery to remove the tumor, radiation therapy, or medication to reduce cortisol levels. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be necessary. It is important to seek treatment for Cushing's Disease, as untreated excess cortisol can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.

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