Cushing Syndrome

Cushing Syndrome

Cushing Syndrome is a disease which is not exclusive to human alone but extends to other mammals like dogs and horses. It is characterized as the condition wherein high level of cortisol is produced in the blood which results to rapid weight gain particularly in the face and trunk.

Cushing Syndrome Symptoms

  • Telangiectasia or the dilation of capillaries
  • Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating
  • Hirsutism or the appearance of facial male pattern hair growth
  • Baldness
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Central Obesity

This is commonly known as belly fat but clinically referred to as central obesity since the fat is accumulated in the waist area of the body.

This is characterized by the occurrence of fat pads on the back of the neck and along the color bone which resembles that of a buffalo hump.

cortisol and Systematic (IUPAC) name

Source : wikipedia

  • Moon Face

This is the distinguished round face seen in patients with Cushing Syndrome.

  • Purple or Red Striae on different parts of the body particularly on the arms,buttocks, breast, legs, hips and shoulders.
  • Pyschological disturbances like euphoria and psyhosis.
  • Skin distresses like dermatophyte and malassezia infections
  • Hypertension
  • Joint aches and pain particularly in the lower back, hips and shoulders.

Cushing Syndrome Mnemonic

Due to the many accompanying syndromes of this condition, medical practitioners have designed s mnemonic for it.

  • C.  stands for cervical fat pads, Central Obesity, and Comedones (acne).
  • U.  stands for Urinary free cortisol
  • S.  stands for Suppressed immunity,Striae.
  • H. stands for Hypercortisolism, Hyper glycemia,Hypertension, Hypercholesterolemia and Hirsutism.
  • I. stands for Increased administration of corticosteroids or Iatrogenic.
  • N.  stands for Neoplasms or Non iatrogenic.
  • G.  Stands for Growth retardation and Glucose intolerance.

This is very useful not only for doctors but for parents and individuals who suddenly notice increased weight in their body accompanied by the above mentioned Cushing Syndrome symptoms.

Cushing Syndrome in Children

If a child suddenly start to gain weight even if there is no drastic change in his or her diet then you should be alarmed. Cushing Syndrome is one of the culprits behind excessive weight gain due to the increased amount of cortisol produced by the body. Although not a fatal condition, it has to be addressed during the early stage so as to avoid depression or social withdrawal to occur because your child suffers from peer humiliation due to his or her excessive weight gain and unproportional body.

Cushing Syndrome Diagnosis

Cushing Syndrome disease is diagnosed by doctors through the administration of dexamethasone and frequent determination of the person’s cortisol and ACTH level called dexamethasone suppression test or the use of a twenty four hour urinary measurement in order to keep track of the cortisol level of the patient.

After this evaluative measure, CT scanning of the adrenal gland as well as MRI test of the pituitary gland may also be performed in order to detect any presence of pituitary adenomas or incidentalomas. In some cases, iodocholesterol scan and scintigraphy of the adrenal gland may also be necessary.

Cushing Syndrome Treatment

Treatment of Cushing Syndrome varies depending on the cause of the Cushing Syndrome Disease.

Cushing Syndrome due to Corticosteroid

Treatment used is as follow

  1. Reduced dosage of the drug under the supervision of the physician
  2. Close monitoring of the patient’s blood sugar, cholesterol level and bone thinning if getting rid of this medication is not possible

Cushing Syndrome due to Pituitary Tumor

  1. Surgical operation in order to remove the tumor
  2. Radiation therapy to help remove the pituitary tumor
  3. Application of hydro cortisone replacement therapy after surgical operation which is to be maintained all the days of your life

Cushing Syndrome due to Adrenal Tumors

  1. Surgical operation may still be recommended
  2. Medications that can help block the release of cortisol in case surgery is not advantageous

Medical Treatment

Use of dopamine, agent modulating ACTH release drugs, valproic acid, bromocriptine, somatostatin and cyphroheptadine. Agent inhibiting adrenal steroidogenesis may also be provided which includes trilostane, mitotane, metyrapone and ketoconozole.

Possible Complications associate with Cushing Syndrome

The following complications may arise if Cushing Syndrome Disease like that of Iatrogenic Cushing Syndrome is not treated

  1. Formation of kidney stones
  2. Development of serious infections
  3. Diabetes
  4. Fractures related to osteoporosis
  5. Enlargement of the pituitary tumor
  6. High blood pressure

If you suspect that you are one of your family members or friends may be suffering from this condition, you have to convince yourself or the individual concerned to go seek assistance from his or her physician.

Prevention and Maintenance of Cushing Syndrome Disease

Since patients with Cushing Syndrome will more likely gain weight even if he or she eats less, the following Cushing

Syndrome Diet is Recommended

  1. Focus more on the fruits and vegetables rather than carbohydrate rich foods.
  2. Eat foods high in protein but low in fat to help prevent bone breakage due to increased cortisol in the body.
  3. Include more dairy product in your diet to help combat the damage caused by osteoporosis.
  4. Limit your sodium intake to reduce the risk of hypertension.
  5. Stay away from caffeine.



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