What is Cushing’s disease? Experts warn of a “rare but serious” situation

Rapid heartbeat is a common symptom of Cushing’s disease. (Photo by Getty Images)

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult a qualified medical professional before exercising or changing your diet, medication, or lifestyle.

Imagine the adrenaline rushing your heart while jumping drugs or zip linen – that was always the case before Angela Yaun was diagnosed.

In six years, the 49-year-old gained 52 pounds (115 pounds), had swollen joints, headaches, red skin, and a heavy heartbeat.

“I put my hand on my chest because I had to do it to hold my heart,” said Young, who lives in Griffin, USA. today is. “I noticed it during the day, but it was even worse when I was lying down at night and trying to sleep, because I can’t hear him beating and I can’t feel him beating.”

He remembered that he was dissatisfied with the maximum weight gain, because he gained 1 kg (2 pounds) per day and ate only 600 calories. “I was crazy,” he said.

In February 2021, Essay sought the help of an endocrinologist after dozens of doctors were unable to reconcile his seemingly unrelated symptoms.

Blood tests and MRI confirmed that Essay had a tumor in the pituitary gland – a small, pea-shaped organ at the base of the brain – that secreted excess adrenocorticotropic hormones from the gland. As a result, it is filled with cortisol, a steroid released by the body in response to danger or stress. The combination of these factors led to his diagnosis – Cushing’s disease.

Continue reading to learn more about Cushing’s disease, signs and symptoms, and ways to prevent it.

Cushing's disease is caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland - a small, pea-shaped organ at the base of the brain.  (Photo by Getty Images)

Cushing’s disease is caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland – a small, pea-shaped organ at the base of the brain. (Photo by Getty Images)

What is Cushing’s disease?

“Cushing’s disease is a rare but serious disease caused by pituitary tumors,” said a University of California (UCLA) pituitary team. Yahoo Canada. “The gland secretes excess adrenocorticotropic hormones and cortisol into the bloodstream over a long period of time. This is a hormonal disorder, sometimes called hypercortisolism, and you will need to see an endocrinologist or someone who specializes in hormonal disorders to confirm your diagnosis and provide proper care. ”

Cushing’s disease is not the same as Cushing’s syndrome, which means an increase in blood cortisol levels, and is much more common than Cushing’s disease. Unlike the disease, Cushing’s syndrome can be caused by the use of drugs that contain cortisol, such as prednisone, asthma inhalers, and joint steroid injections.

Who is at risk for Cushing’s disease?

Cushing’s disease is incredibly rare, resulting in only 10-15 new cases per million people in the United States each year, according to UCLA Health.

“It is most common in people between the ages of 20 and 50, and affects women three times more often than men,” said a UCLA source who asked not to be named. “However, if you have high blood pressure, are overweight, or have type 2 diabetes, you may be at risk.”

Cushing's disease is most common in people between the ages of 20 and 50, and affects women three times more often than men.  (Photo by Getty Images)

Cushing’s disease is most common in people between the ages of 20 and 50, and affects women three times more often than men. (Photo by Getty Images)

What are the signs and symptoms of Cushing’s disease?

According to the Mayo Clinic, each person may have a unique combination of symptoms, but patients usually experience changes in their appearance.

“It’s very common to see rapid weight gain, red cheeks and bruising of the skin,” says a UCLA source. “I have also seen patients with general fatigue, depression, high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat and vision impairment.”

“Symptoms may seem random or unrelated, so it can be very difficult to diagnose,” they add.

To determine if you have a disease, your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms and medical history. In general, the first step in diagnosing Cushing’s disease is to determine the level of excess cortisol in the blood. Then, an MRI detects the appearance of a pituitary tumor.

If you have any symptoms of Cushing’s disease, consult your doctor or endocrinologist.

Rapid weight gain is a common but dangerous symptom of Cushing’s disease.  (Photo by Getty Images)

Rapid weight gain is a common but dangerous symptom of Cushing’s disease. (Photo by Getty Images)

How is Cushing’s disease treated?

In the last decade, the treatment methods have changed due to several advances in pituitary science.

“Surgery is usually the first treatment. It is minimally invasive, has a fairly high success rate, and in this case is the only long-term cure for Cushing’s disease, ”explains the UCLA source.

If surgery is not available or does not solve the problem, medication and radiation therapy are other ways to treat the disease.

“Regardless of the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis, it requires an experienced specialist or a family of physicians with pituitary tumors to treat it,” the UCLA source added.

How can I prevent Cushing’s disease?

“There is no tried and true way to prevent the situation,” the source explained. “But if you are at risk or think you have this disease, I always recommend that your doctor monitor your cortisol levels on a regular basis.”

The UCLA source also suggests making healthy lifestyle changes that can help prevent high blood pressure. Examples include reducing stress, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains.

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