Cushing’s Syndrome – My battle with it!

I have Cushings Syndrome, it was caused by my long term prednisolone use and i’m apparently a very ‘typical’ case of the side affects/symptons that come with Cushing’s. However, it’s still not very known about and even doctors are very dismissive of it being a real thing. My doctor I saw today, refused to even acknowledge it or even accept that some of the symptoms were even due to steroids. So what is Cushings? let me educate you a little!

Cushing’s Syndrome

Using corticosteroids (prednisolone) is the most common cause of Cushing’s syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome is a condition in which can occur if you have high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in your blood.

Cortisol increases our blood pressure and blood glucose levels and diabetes is one complication which can result from untreated Cushing’s syndrome.

Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome

Physical signs of Cushing’s syndrome may include:

    • Fatty tissue building up typically around the waist, upper back, between the shoulders and the face.
    • Slim arms and legs contrasting significantly with fat deposits around your middle
    • Swollen cheeks with red patches
    • Striae – red or purple stretch marks, which may resemble tiger stripes, commonly found on the abdomen, near the armpits or around the breasts and thighs
    • Acne
    • Thin skin which easily bruises

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Women may experience thicker than normal facial and body hair (hirsutism) and missed or irregular periods.

Men may experience a loss of libido, difficulty achieving erections and loss of fertility.

High blood pressure and high blood glucose levels may commonly be experienced with Cushing’s syndrome.

Doctors will prescribe the lowest effective dose to reduce the likelihood of complications, such as Cushing’s syndrome, developing.

When Cushing’s syndrome results from steroid usage, this is known as iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome.

Diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome can be diagnosed by measuring levels of cortisol in the urine, the blood or saliva.

You may be asked to take dexamethasone before the test is carried out. If you don’t Cushing’s syndrome, the dexamethasone should decrease your cortisol levels.

The NHS advise that these tests are helpful but cannot guarantee accuracy.

Treatment for steroid induced Cushing’s syndrome

When Cushing’s syndrome results from taking corticosteroids, the dosage you are taking will need to be reduced or stopped. If you have been taking higher doses of steroids for a significant period of time, the dosage you take will usually be reduced before they can be stopped.

WARNING: If you don’t want to see my stretch marks from the Cushing’s don’t scroll down!

This is how they have affected me! I have many other symptoms however, as you can see these aren’t pleasant and it’s a real thing! more than just weight gain stretch marks!

I have stretch marks covering most my body, and the skin breaks in the stretch marks and tears when it’s over stretched, it gets sore when rubbed or anything touches it. They are very painful at times and although I can hide most, some are stull on show. As you can see on my arm they go all the way down to my wrist nearly!

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One day I hope I can get off my steroids or onto a lower dose so I can hopefully get rid of my Cushing’s, however for the last year this has been my life. The stress fractures from the osteoporosis when I just have to cough and I break something. The fluid retention over my whole body making me bloat everywhere, the moon face, the hunch back, the severe muscle myopathy making me so weak and unable… As if having asthma isn’t bad enough.

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