Cushing's syndrome is a rare anomaly that occurs when the body secretes an excessive amount of a homonym called cortisol. It is also called hypercorticism or hypercorticism and is manifested in particular by a specific appearance and skin changes. Undetected in time, this syndrome can lead to extremely dangerous complications.
What are the causes?
Excessive secretion of the hormone cortisol in the body is the main cause of the disease. The endocrine system is made up of glands that produce various hormones, including cortisol, a hormone that regulates processes in the body:
- blood pressure;
- the cardiovascular system;
- controls the level of stress;
- transforms or metabolizes proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy.
Cushing's syndrome can also be triggered by the administration of corticosteroid medication at very high doses and over long periods of time. These drugs, like prednisone, have the same effects as the secretion of natural cortisol in the body. Their oral or injectable administration as treatments for various conditions can trigger the syndrome.
What are the symptoms?
The signs and symptoms of Cushing's syndrome vary from person to person. The most common ones are those related to obesity and skin changes:
weight gain and distribution of specific fat deposits, especially in the lower and upper area of the back (at the neck), on the face (face in full moon form), in the abdomen, at the base of the limbs;
the extremities are thin (due to the loss of muscle mass);
thin, atrophic and dry skin, with a marbled appearance; it is easily damaged at the slightest injury;
red-purple stripes appear, and acne appears frequently on the back;
slow healing of cuts, insect bites or other minor injuries.
What complications can occur?
If you do not discover and treat this disease in time, there may be several complications that can endanger your health:
common and unusual infections;
loss of mass and muscle strength, etc.
Women with Cushing's syndrome may also experience:
hirsutism (hair in excess of the face);
disorders or absence of menstrual cycle.
Men with this syndrome also have specific symptoms that can be associated with general ones:
low sexual appetite;
erectile dysfunction (impotent).
Other signs and symptoms of the anomaly include:
depression, anxiety and irritability;
lack of emotional control;
high blood pressure etc.
What is the treatment for Cushing's syndrome?
If you know that you are taking corticosteroid-based treatment or experience the above symptoms, go to the doctor for further investigation.
The treatments for this abnormality are performed in order to decrease the excessive level of cortisol in the body. It depends in particular on the cause underlying the occurrence of the disease and can be based on:
- reducing the dose of corticosteroids from various treatments;
- surgery (if it is triggered by a tumor);