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Understanding the Disease

Cushing’s Disease

About Cushing's Disease

Cushing's disease is a rare hormonal condition. It is caused when a benign (noncancerous) tumor (called a pituitary adenoma) on the pituitary gland makes too much adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Large amounts of ACTH cause the body to create too much cortisol, another hormone.

When your cortisol level is too high for too long, you have hypercortisolism. This can cause the signs and symptoms of Cushing's disease.

ACTH is a hormone made by the pituitary gland. ACTH travels through your blood to the adrenal glands (located above your kidneys) and tells them to make cortisol.

Cortisol is an important hormone. It's part of many processes in the body, including metabolism (the turning of food into energy) and your ability to fight infection.

Cushing's disease affects everyone differently. The symptoms also vary in their severity. Knowing how Cushing's disease affects your body can make it easier to talk to your doctor.

Some of the physical symptoms of Cushing's disease are easier to spot than others. In fact, because the symptoms progress slowly, many people don't see them right away.

The signs and symptoms of Cushing's disease are caused when the body makes too much cortisol for too long, a condition called “hypercortisolism.” Some of the symptoms can affect how you look and feel, and how your body functions.

The goal of treating Cushing's disease is to stop the effects of too much cortisol. Often a doctor will suggest surgery to remove the tumor. However, up to 35% of patients had a tumor return even after successful surgery. A doctor will then suggest other ways to manage Cushing's disease. These can include repeat surgery, radiation, and medication.

Mechanism of Disease
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Mechanism of Disease
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Managing Cushing’s disease

Minimize the impact of Cushing’s disease

Cushing's disease can affect your life in many ways. Sometimes it may even feel like it's taking over. By taking time for yourself and making positive changes in your life, you can help lessen the impact of Cushing's disease.

There are things you can do to help yourself continue to feel better

  • Increase activities slowly. Increasing your level of exercise and activity is important. Please talk to your doctor before starting a diet and exercise program
  • Eat right. Getting proper nutrition through a well-balanced diet is very important
  • If you're feeling depressed, seek help. Cushing's disease can cause depression, and sometimes it develops or persists after treatment begins. Ask for help from your doctor or therapist if you're depressed, feeling overwhelmed, or having difficulty coping during the management of your disease
  • Gently soothe aches and pains. Indulge yourself in hot baths and massages, or do low-impact exercises to try to help alleviate some of the muscle and joint pain that you may experience during the management of your disease
  • Exercise your brain. To improve the cognitive difficulties that sometimes accompany Cushing's disease, keep your brain active with crossword or number puzzles and games

Learn more about how Signifor can help improve your symptoms

You've begun a journey with Cushing's disease, and along with new challenges, there are options. Stay positive. Stay connected to others. Know when to ask for help. Seek out the support you need.

Taking Care of Your Mind and Body
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Taking Care of Your Mind and Body
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