Medicine For Dummies: Cushing’s Syndrome


The Cushing’s Syndrome is a disease that occurs when the body produces an excess of cortisol, a phenomena also known as hypercortisolism. It is a hormonal disorder usually resulting from either the overconsumption of corticosteriod medication or the body’s natural overproduction rate of the hormone itself.

Cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal gland, works to regulate blood sugar, maintain the blood pressure, lower inflammation, and turn digested food into energy — too much of this can lead to Cushing’s Syndrome.

The hallmark signs of this disease are a fatty hump between the shoulders, a rounded face, and pink or purple stretch marks on the skin. It could also result in high blood pressure, bone loss and, on occasion, type 2 diabetes.

The management plan for the Cushing’s Syndrome is aimed to first, address the levels of cortisol production in the body. This would start with the removal or reduction of corticosteroids for the patient.

In the event that the Cushing’s Syndrome was caused by a tumor – the medical team would consider procedure to be conducted for it to be surgically removed.

Within the capacity, a patient could also be prescribed with radiation therapy. This is the usually the case when the entirety of the tumor is unable to be surgically removed.

The Syndrome could also be managed through medication, if the surgery and radiotherapy options are not viable. It would be used to, primarily, control the excessive production of cortisol at the adrenal gland. Such medications could include ketoconazole, mitotane (Lysodren) and metyrapone (Metopirone).

Our DnG patient, Ramzan Bi was diagnosed with Cushing’s Syndrome, four months into working with her.

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