Cushing's syndrome presents an imbalance ofthe hormone cortisol. People develop Crushing's syndrome because the bodyexcessively produces cortisol or because of having taken glucocorticoid hormonalpills for longer period of time. Cortisol participates in vital bodilyprocesses such as regulating blood pressure and the level of insulin italso helps in metabolizing proteins and fats and it also helps the body respond tostress adequately.
Cushing's syndrome provokes other health problems andis complicated if untreated. Increased levels of cortisol lead to osteoporosisor weak bones prone to fractures. Excessive cortisol disrupts normalcardiovascular functions, causes high blood pressure, and other heart problems.
Cushing's syndrome may lead to developing diabetes. Adrenal glands located above the kidneys release normal amounts of cortisol when stimulated bypituitary gland hormones. When released amounts increase, they can even leadto forming kidney stones and can disturb the release of other hormones.Affected people are prone to numerous and frequent infections.
Thesyndrome is manifested in fatter upper parts of the body and thinner arms andlegs which eventually causes greater muscle mass and strength loss. One ofpossible complications is an enlarged tumor of the hypophysis. Depending on the cause of Cushing's syndrome, a doctor determines theadequate treatment. The first measure is to reduce the level of cortisol. Ifcorticosteroid medications have been taken for a longer time, a doctor reducesthe dosage of the medications and adjusts them to the problem.
These medicationsare not to be removed from the treatment straight away, since this also causessome other complications. The doctor supervises the taking of such medicationsand possibly introduces non-corticosteroid medicines. Cancers can be the cause of this syndrome as well. Cancers of the hypophysis, or pituitarygland, located at the bottom of the brain, adrenal glands, or the pancreas may require surgical operations and in such a case, a tumor is removedfrom the body. Cushing's syndrome patients usually recover the normal functions ofadrenal glands, but on some occasions, the level of cortisol is regulated bymedications taken for a longer period of time.
Radiation therapy is included in the treatment when the pituitary tumor cannotbe fully removed or when the surgery is not possible to be performed.
The dose ofradiation varies.Medications such as ketoconazole, mitotane and metyrapone regulates the amountof cortisol and they can be prescribed in the therapy. Cancer of the pituitary oradrenal glands even cause the reduction of some other hormones therefore a doctor caninclude other hormone pills to the treatment.