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What’s Cushing Syndrome?

Cushing’s syndrome, also known as hypercortisolism, a medical condition caused by prolonged exposure to high levels of the hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol refered as steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which are located on top of each kidney. It plays a crucial role in regulating various body functions, including metabolism, immune response, and stress response.

In Cushing’s syndrome, excessive cortisol levels results from various factors, including:

  1. Overuse of Corticosteroid Medications: Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone or dexamethasone, for the treatment of conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, or autoimmune disorders, can lead to Cushing’s syndrome.
  2. Adrenal Tumors: Tumors in the adrenal glands, such as adenomas or carcinomas, can cause excessive cortisol production.
  3. Pituitary Tumors: Tumors in the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, can lead to overproduction of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.
  4. Ectopic ACTH Syndrome: Certain tumors outside the pituitary gland, such as in the lungs or pancreas, can produce ACTH and stimulate cortisol production.

Common signs and symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome include:

  1. Weight Gain: Particularly in the face (moon face), upper back (buffalo hump), and abdomen (central obesity).
  2. Skin Changes: Thin and fragile skin, stretch marks (striae), and easy bruising.
  3. Muscle Weakness: Weakness and loss of muscle mass.
  4. High Blood Pressure: Hypertension, also common in Cushing’s syndrome.
  5. Glucose Intolerance: Elevated blood sugar levels and an increased risk of developing diabetes.
  6. Mood Changes: Irritability, anxiety, and depression may occur.
  7. Irregular Menstrual Periods: In females, menstrual irregularities will looked at by medical professionals.

Diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome involves a series of tests to measure cortisol levels, identify the underlying cause, and differentiate it from other conditions with similar symptoms. Treatment depends on the cause of the syndrome and may involve discontinuing or reducing corticosteroid medications, procedures to remove tumors, or medications to block cortisol production.

If left untreated, Cushing’s syndrome can lead to various complications, including bone loss (osteoporosis), increased risk of infections, and cardiovascular issues. Early diagnosis and appropriate management will essentially improve symptoms, prevent complications, and enhance the patient’s quality of life.


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Founded by Neurosurgeon, Dr. Grant Booher, Longhorn Brain and Spine focuses on a patient-centered approach to alleviating North Texans from Neurological and Spinal Pain.  Dr. Booher and his clinical team believe in exhausting all non-invasive protocols first and if needed, employing the least invasive procedures necessary to treat the patients.

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Dr. Booher believes in a conservative, individualized and holistic approach when it comes to his patients. He prefers exhausting all nonsurgical options and proudly offers the least invasive techniques when clinically indicated. He strives to treat every patient like a member of his family. During his free time, he and his wife enjoy watching sports, listening to Texas country music, and traveling.