At 43 I am starting yet another new phase in my life. I have recently moved to Florida from Texas. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. My beautiful granddaughter lives in Texas, and I miss her every day.
I love Florida and the lifestyle here. I have a job that I love and allows me to work despite health issues. I am also starting a photography business to supplement my income with one of the things I love to do. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a photographer. I never pursued it because I thought I couldn’t afford the equipment, I wasn’t artistic enough, I wouldn’t be able to earn a living with it, etc. Now, I am learning more every day and chasing my dreams!
I have Cushing’s disease, but it doesn’t have me! What is Cushing’s? Cushing’s syndrome, also known as hypercortisolism or hyperadrenocorticism, is an endocrine disorder caused by prolonged exposure of the body’s tissues to high levels of the hormone cortisol (in the blood) from a variety of causes, including primary pituitary adenoma (known as Cushing’s disease). It is relatively rare and most commonly affects adults aged 20 to 50. Normally, cortisol is released from the adrenal glands in response to ACTH being released from the pituitary gland. Cushing’s disease is characterized by elevated levels of cortisol in the blood, but the cause of elevated cortisol. The cause is a tumor in the pituitary gland that stimulates excessive release of cortisol from the adrenal glands by releasing large amounts of ACTH.
Cushing’s syndrome occurs when the body’s tissues are exposed to excessive levels of cortisol for long periods of time. Cortisol helps maintain blood pressure and cardiovascular function and is responsible for helping the body respond to stress. Many people suffer the symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome because they take steroids such as prednisone for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other inflammatory diseases, or for immunosuppression after transplantation. Prednisone is well-known for a “bloating” look that it gives people who take it.
Symptoms include (Note: Not every patient has every symptom):
- Fatness of the face, sometimes called “moonface”, neck and trunk,
- Facial plethora, Puffy eyes
- Softening of the spine
- Ruddy complexion with purple markings
- Pink or purple stretch marks may appear on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, arms and breasts
- Easy bruising, poor healing after cuts and bruises
- Diminished resistance to infections
- Osteoporosis (thin, weak bones)
- Diabetes mellitus
- Muscle weakness
- Buffalo Hump a fat accumulation over the upper back
- Facial hair in women
- Mental disturbances, such as depression, moodiness, anxiety or irritability
- Severe fatigue