Cushing’s disease is a rare condition that has an effect on almost all of the tissue within an affected person’s body. Primarily found in women and affecting those between ages 20 and 40, getting a proper diagnosis for Cushing’s disease and exploring treatment options as soon as possible is important. In some cases, Cushing’s disease could result in other complications that demand home healthcare services. Please read the following information about Cushing’s disease, and call our team at United Energy Workers Healthcare if you have more questions about Cushing’s disease and home healthcare services–
What Is Cushing’s Disease?
According to The Pituitary Society, Cushing’s syndrome is a rare disease that is caused by an overproduction of the hormone cortisol within the body (2015). While cortisol is a natural hormone that is necessary for life and is produced by healthy humans on a regular basis–indeed, cortisol production helps to reduce inflammation, maintain the health of the heart and blood vessels and supports a healthy metabolism–too much of the hormone within the body can cause serious complications.
Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease and Who’s Affected
Both men and women can develop Cushing’s disease, although the condition is more common in women than it is in men. Symptoms that can be shared by both genders (Mayo Clinic 2019) include:
- The formation of a rounded fatty hump at the base of the neck;
- Stretch marks on the skin;
- Fragile skin that is thin and which bruises easily;
- Acne; and
- Cuts and wounds that are slow to heal.
In addition to the above, members of both sexes may experience fatigue, weakness, emotional changes such as depression, cognitive decline, headaches, high blood pressure, and bone loss.
In women, symptoms might also include the increased production of body and facial hair, as well as irregular menstrual periods. In men, symptoms might include decreased fertility, erectile dysfunction, and decreased libido.
Complications from Cushing’s Disease
If you think that you have Cushing’s disease, it’s important to seek treatment, as some of the complications that are associated with this condition can be serious, leading to adverse health and an impaired quality of life. Without treatment, potential complications of Cushing’s disease include high blood pressure, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, infections, and loss of muscle mass.
Causes of Cushing’s Disease
As stated above, Cushing’s disease is characterized by an overproduction of cortisol in the body. This may happen as a result of overproduction in the adrenal glands, or overproduction of ACTH, the hormone that regulates cortisol production. Overproduction may be caused by:
- A tumor of the pituitary gland;
- A tumor that secretes ACTH;
- A disease of the adrenal glands; or
- An inherited tumor of the endocrine glands, which is rare.
Treating Cushing’s Disease
One of the complicated elements of Cushing’s disease is that this condition can be difficult to diagnose, primarily because the symptoms of Cushing’s disease can mirror those of other conditions. In order to diagnose the condition, a doctor may order blood or urine tests, salvia tests, imaging tests, or sampling from the veins that drain into the pituitary gland.
Once Cushing’s disease is diagnosed, the next step is treating the condition. The primary goal of Cushing’s disease treatment is to reduce the amount of cortisol in the body. This might include the reduction of the use of corticosteroids if you are using them, surgery to remove a tumor if this is the cause of the disease, radiation to treat a tumor if this is the cause of the condition or the use of certain medications that are designed to control cortisol production. Unfortunately, many of these treatment options have less-than-ideal side effects that can impair your quality of life, such as nausea, vomiting, and the risk of liver toxicity.
There are also some things that you can do at home, like eating a healthy diet (what you eat has a big impact on your hormone production), incorporating exercising slowly and steadily, monitoring your mental health and controlling stress levels, and taking baths and getting massages to ease the discomfort and pain associated with Cushing’s disease.
Learn More About Cushing’s Disease and Home Healthcare
At United Energy Workers Healthcare, we provide free, in-home healthcare services to those with certain conditions, per the EEOICPA/RECA programs maintained by the U.S. Department of Labor. If you think that you may qualify for free in-home healthcare or if you have a question about qualifying conditions, please feel free to reach out to our team directly today for more information.
Mayo Clinic. (2019, May 30). Cushing syndrome. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cushing-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20351310
Pituitary Society, The. (2015). Cushing’s syndrome and disease. Retrieved from: https://pituitarysociety.org/patient-education/pituitary-disorders/cushings/what-are-cushings-disease-and-cushings-syndrome