The Facts About Cushing's Syndrome Including Treatment Options

Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, MD, FRCPC, FACE, Endocrinologist, discusses Cushing's Syndrome and it's signs and symptoms.

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Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, MD, FRCPC, FACE, Endocrinologist, discusses Cushing's Syndrome and it's signs and symptoms.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, MD, FRCPC, FACE, Endocrinologist

Duration: 2 minutes, 8 seconds

Cushing’s syndrome is a condition where the adrenal glands produce excessive amounts of cortisol over a long period of time, and this leads to a lot of signs and symptoms in the body.

The Cushing’s syndrome can be caused by the production of cortisol directly from an adrenal tumour, either benign or malignant. Or, it could be the result of pituitary tumours or sometimes lung tumours that are producing a hormone called ACTH that is stimulating the adrenal gland to produce excessive amounts of cortisol.

The other cause of Cushing’s syndrome would be the intake of cortisone medication like prednisone, and that can mimic all the signs and symptoms that you receive from endogenous production of cortisol.

Sometimes there are fat pads in the upper back or above the collarbone. People with Cushing’s will often have bright red or purple stretch marks across their abdomen. There’s a high rate of high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis in Cushing’s syndrome, and in women there’s often excessive hair growth and they often see problems with things like acne.

So if you think you have the signs or symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome your doctor will probably carry out a series of investigations, typically blood and urine tests to document elevations of the hormone cortisol.

Once that is found the physician will probably order some imaging tests to see if they can find the source of the problem, either an adrenal or a pituitary or a lung tumour, for example. And ideally the treatment would be surgery to remove the cause of the Cushing’s syndrome.

If you have signs or symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome and diagnosis has not been made, I suggest you see your physician for testing.

Presenter: Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, Endocrinologist, Thornhill, ON

Local Practitioners: Endocrinologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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