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Cushing’s syndrome is an uncommon syndrome that happens when your body has too much of a hormone called cortisol. It is also called hypercortisolism. Cortisol is a steroid hormone commonly called the “stress hormone.” Your body releases extra cortisol during times of stress, helping out by:

  • Increasing your heart rate.
  • Increasing your blood pressure.
  • Managing your blood glucose.
  • Managing your respiration.
  • Increasing your muscle tension.

Cortisol also helps by shutting down, temporarily, systems that your body doesn’t need during times of increased stress, such as digestion and reproduction.

Cortisol is essential to:

  • Maintaining blood pressure.
  • Regulating blood sugar.
  • Reducing inflammation.
  • Forming memories.
  • Managing respiration.
  • Balancing salt in your body.
  • Transforming your food into energy.

The adrenal glands (two small glands on top of your kidneys), pituitary gland (in your brain), and the hypothalamus (the part of your brain above the pituitary gland) control cortisol levels.

The cortisol levels found in Cushing’s syndrome are typically caused by a medication or a tumor.

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Cushing’s syndrome (hypercortisolism) happens when there’s extra cortisol in your body. Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is vital to regulating your blood sugar and turning food into energy. Unfortunately, too much of it caused by a medication or a tumor can cause weight gain, muscle weakness and more. Cushing’s syndrome can be fatal if untreated.
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Cushing’s is difficult syndrome to endure. It causes weakness, hypertension, fatigue and more. The treatments including chemotherapy and surgery are, at best, uncomfortable. However, they are worth it, because with the right treatment, Cushing’s syndrome can be cured.

Stay in contact with your healthcare provider during every stage. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and don’t hesitate to ask them any questions!
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