The Balancing Act Premieres Segment on Cushing’s Syndrome

April 23, 2013

What is Cushing’s Syndrome? Often hard to diagnose, Cushing’s Syndrome is a rare disorder caused by high levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a natural hormone that your body produces to help manage stress and metabolism.

Cushing’s typically affects people ages 20 to 50, and usually impacts more women than men. Common symptoms include:

  • Upper body obesity
  • Rounded face
  • Increased fat around neck
  • Thinning arms and legs
  • Easily bruised skin bruises
  • Purplish pink stretch marks on abdomen, thighs, buttocks, arms and breasts
  • Excess hair growth on woman’s face, neck, chest, abdomen, thighs

While the most common cause of Cushing’s is exposure to corticosteroid medications such as prednisone and others used in injections and creams, a small percentage of the population develop Cushing’s due to a tumor on the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain), the adrenal gland or elsewhere in the body.

After diagnosis, most patients undergo pituitary surgery, and this is the first and best option for most patients. But surgical failures or recurrences happen on a fairly regular basis.

Many people– including some in the medical community– believe that Cushing’s is just a “weight” issue. In fact, many patients with Cushing’s report healthy, low-calorie diets and exercise all the while gaining excess weight caused by excess cortisol. Cushing’s is not as simple as dieting for weight loss.

To learn more about Cushing’s disease and treatment options, please join James Findling, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of Community Endocrine Services, Medical College of Wisconsin and a woman who shares her personal story on Tuesday, April 23rd and 30th at 7:00 am (ET/PT) on The Balancing Act®.

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