Cushing Syndrome (also known as Cushing's Syndrome and Hypercortisolism) is caused by an influx of cortisol that comes from something either inside or outside of the body.
This means the excessive cortisol could be caused by a pituitary or adrenal tumour, or by corticosteroid medications such as prednisone. Cushing Syndrome can also occur when the body produces too much cortisol on its own.
There are a few causes of Cushing Syndrome which include:
Cushing Disease is a specific form of Cushing Syndrome and is the result of the body producing too much cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is related to the body's stress response and its secretion is controlled by the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal gland.
Cushing Disease is considered a rare pituitary disorder. It effects 10 to 15 people per million each year and is most commonly found in adults between the ages of 20-50 years old and 70% of cases are women. This type of Cushing Syndrome is caused by a pituitary tumour that produces too much much cortisol.
Without treatment, symptoms will get worse as this disease is considered progressive. However, with treatment, symptoms can be managed, elevated to an extent, and those with Cushing Disease (or Cushing's Disease) can lead healthy and active lives.
Cushing Disease is caused by a pituitary tumour. These tumours are typically benign but they can make the pituitary gland produce too much adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which causes the adrenal glands to produce too much cortisol.
Getting diagnosed with Cushing Disease or Syndrome can be difficult as a number of symptoms are similar to those experienced with other conditions. Many people do go through challenges and misdiagnosis before being diagnosed with Cushing Disease or Syndrome.
In addition, there is not one definitive test to diagnose Cushing Disease/Syndrome which means you may have to go through numerous screenings.
Many doctors will begin by testing your hormone levels through blood tests, urine tests, and saliva tests. If a pituitary or adrenal tumour is suspected then you may also need to have a MRI and/or abdominal CT scan done.
There is not one particular set treatment plan for all forms of Cushing Disease and Syndrome. You must review all your options with your doctor.
Typically, the initial treatment for Cushing Disease is often surgery to remove the pituitary tumour. This surgery is performed by going up through the nose to remove the tumour. It is a minimally invasive surgery known as transsphenoidal surgery.
Sometimes, surgery is either not possible or does not completely solve the cortisol level issues. In this case, you may need to go on medication to further control the cortisol levels, or discuss other surgical options.
Occasionally, removing both adrenal glands is also done in order to control excessive cortisol levels. This is only done if cortisol levels fail to improve following pituitary tumour removal or lack of response to medication.
If you have a particularly aggressive form of Cushing Disease than you may need to undergo radiation therapy to control the hormone levels.
Yes, while ensuring you are following all medical advice and treatment plans from your doctor, you can also implement a number of lifestyle changes to support your health. These include:
Yes, one of the symptoms you may experience when you have Cushing Disease or Cushing Syndrome is hair loss.
Increased production of cortisol can cause a number of symptoms such as skin changes (bruising, acne, etc), a round or red face, weight gain, and hair loss or thinning.
Hair thinning typically occurs on the the body but it can also affect the hair on ones' head as well.
There are a number of ways one can care for their hair once they have been diagnosed with Cushing Disease or Cushing Syndrome. Here are our top hair care tips:
BE GENTLE WITH YOUR HAIR.
Avoid using heat tools, bleaching products, or tight hair styles that tug on the root of the hair.
USE SCALP AND HAIR TREATMENTS.
We recommend using a hot oil treatment, like our Beach Goddess Hot Oil Mask, once every two weeks to help moisturize and nourish your scalp and hair. This will help keep your hair healthy and also encourage healthier hair growth.
USE A SATIN PILLOWCASE.
Many pillowcases on the market are actually quite rough and damaging to your hair. Instead, swap your pillowcase out for something smoother and softer, like a satin pillowcase. A satin pillowcase will allow your hair to slid gently over the fabric as you turn in your sleep unlike a cotton pillowcase which would tug on your hair.
TAKE HAIR GROWTH SUPPLEMENTS.
Hair supplements, like our 60 Day hair Challenge, can be very effective in helping support new hair growth and healthier hair growth.
Yes! Supplementing with the right Vitamins can absolutely help.
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