Cushing’s Syndrome: Causes, Complications and Treatment

Cushing’s Syndrome: Causes, Complications and Treatment

What is Cortisol

‍At Atlantic Endocrinology & Diabetes Center we feel that before discussing Cushing’s, we must first discuss cortisol. 

Cortisol is a glucocorticoid (steroid) hormone which plays an important role in glucose and fat metabolism and reducing inflammation. 

The hormone is also referred to as the “stress” or “flight-or-fight” hormone, as it, along with epinephrine (adrenaline) is released during “flight-or-fight” situations.

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What is Cushing’s Syndrome?

Cushing’s Syndrome is a disorder in which the level of the hormone cortisol increases in the body. 

High cortisol causes weight gain around the abdomen, chest, face, and neck. 

 Cushing’s Syndrome is a rare condition affecting around 10-15 out of one million people every year. 

 

It strikes adults between 20 and 50 years of age, but it can also occur in children. Cushing’s Syndrome is more prevalent in women than men, contributing to about 70 percent of all cases.

Causes of Cushing’s Syndrome

Cushing’s Syndrome is caused due to the following reasons:

Long-term use of corticosteroid medicines

People who take high doses of corticosteroid medicines for a long time may develop Cushing’s Syndrome. 

 Corticosteroids are usually prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and to prevent rejection after organ transplantation.

Excessive production of the hormone cortisol

Several medical conditions can trigger the adrenal gland to produce too much cortisol, including:

  • Tumor in the adrenal gland.
  • Tumor of the pituitary gland increases the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), causing the adrenal glands to release more cortisol.
  • Tumors in the pancreas, lungs, or thyroid can increase the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).

 

Signs and Symptoms

  • Weight gain and fatty tissue deposits, particularly around the midsection and upper back, in the face (moon face), and between the shoulders (buffalo hump)
  • Pink or purple stretch marks (striae) on the skin of the abdomen, thighs, breasts and arms
  • Thinning, fragile skin that bruises easily
  • Slow healing of cuts, insect bites and infections
  • Acne
  • Severe fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Depression, anxiety and irritability
  • Loss of emotional control
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • New or worsened high blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Infections
  • Skin darkening
  • Bone loss, leading to fractures over time
  • In children, impaired growth

 Signs and symptoms women with Cushing syndrome may experience

  • Thicker or more visible body and facial hair (hirsutism)
  • Irregular or absent menstrual periods

Signs and symptoms men with Cushing syndrome may experience

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Decreased fertility
  • Erectile dysfunction

Cushing’s Syndrome treatment

Various treatment options are available for Cushing’s Syndrome, depending on the causes of high cortisol.

Tapering the doses of corticosteroids

If Cushing’s Syndrome is caused due to over-use of corticosteroids, your doctor at Atlantic Endocrinology & Diabetes Center will gradually reduce the dose of the medicine. The doctor will recommend the lowest possible dose of corticosteroids required to manage your disease.

Surgically removing a tumor

If Cushing’s Syndrome is caused due to a tumor in the adrenal glands, pituitary gland, lungs, or pancreas, your doctor will suggest surgery to remove a tumor. It will reduce the production of cortisol hormones in the body. But after the surgery, patients will require hormone replacement therapy to maintain the levels of cortisol.

Radiation therapy

The doctor recommends radiation therapy if a tumor can not be removed via surgery or if a patient is unfit for surgery. In radiation therapy, small doses of radiation are given for six weeks, or a high dose of radiation is given all at once to destroy the tumor cells.

Medications

The doctor may prescribe medications such as Mitotane, Metyrapone, and Ketoconazole to reduce the production of cortisol. These medicines are used when other treatment options such as surgery and radiation therapy do not work.

After complete treatment, most patients observe improvements in the symptoms of Cushing’s Syndrome and recover fully.

Ways Hormones Impact Teens

Ways Hormones Impact Teens

With the onset of puberty comes an avalanche of hormones for your teenager. This can be a tricky time for both adolescents and their parents to navigate. 

 

Even though it can take a few years for hormones to level out a little, they can still become imbalanced due to a variety of underlying causes. 

Sometimes symptoms are visible like with delayed development, or sudden weight gain or loss, but many teenagers tend to be reluctant to share more subtle concerns like menstrual irregularity. In many cases, your teen may not even realize anything is amiss.

 

Hormones are the chemical messengers in the human body responsible for maintaining the body’s homeostasis. During puberty, the hypothalamus produces gonadotropin, a hormone that instigates the production of sex, adrenal, and growth hormones. The spike in each of these hormones affects the teenager’s body, moods, emotions, and impulses.

Ways Hormones Impact Teens

 

What Are the Symptoms of Teenage Hormone Imbalance?

 

At Atlantic Endocrinology & Diabetes Center we know that irregular or heavy periods, fatigue, weight gain, facial hair and extreme moodiness are all common symptoms of teen hormone imbalance. But there are other less common signs, as well, that can occur in various combinations depending on a teen’s specific hormonal issues:

 

  • Increased sensitivity to cold or heat

  • Constipation or more frequent bowel movements

  • Dry skin

  • Puffy or rounded face

  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain

  • Increased or decreased heart rate

  • Muscle weakness

  • Frequent urination

  • Increased thirst

  • Pain or stiffness in muscles or joints

  • Hair loss or fine, brittle hair

  • Increased hunger

  • Depression or anxiety

  • Blurred vision

  • Sweating

  • A fatty hump between the shoulders

  • Purple or pink stretch marks

  • Hot flashes

  • Sugar cravings

  • Fluid retention

  • Headache

  • Brain fog

  • Insomnia

 

Common Causes of Teen Hormone Imbalance

 

One of the most common causes of hormone imbalance in teen girls is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Scientists and doctors are still working to understand what exactly causes PCOS, but it’s estimated to affect between 5 and 10 percent of women in their reproductive years. 

 

A healthy, diverse microbiome is involved with manufacturing healthy hormones and moderating the body’s inflammatory response. A healthy gut is one major ally toward better hormonal balance in your teen. Beneficial bacteria in the gut help extract nutrients from food, producing thousands of beneficial metabolites that are involved in metabolic and hormone function. 

 Gynecomastia is a condition most noticeably marked by enlarged breast tissue in males. Though not uncommon, it could indicate testosterone deficiency or estrogen excess in boys. As androgen levels rise in puberty, gynecomastia will often resolve naturally. But if you notice these changes in your child, it’s important to let your child’s doctor know.

Which Hormones Commonly Cause Problems for Teenage Girls?

Progesterone

This hormone is produced by the ovaries and increases production during ovulation. Low progesterone can cause headaches, anxiety and irregular periods. Progesterone also plays a part in balancing estrogen, so when progesterone is low, dominant estrogen can create its own set of problems.

Estrogen

An estrogen imbalance can impact every aspect of a young woman’s life. Too much estrogen can cause you to gain weight, lose your sex drive, have tender breasts, mood swings and PMS. Too little estrogen can lead to  hot flashes, frequent UTIs, fatigue, body pain and difficulties concentrating.

Cortisol

Cortisol is commonly called “the stress hormone.” Excess cortisol can cause Cushing’s disease, weight gain, anxiety and depression in teen girls. Low cortisol leads to Addison’s disease, fatigue and weight loss.

Thyroid Hormones

Hyperthyroidism, or too much thyroid hormone can cause anxiety, weight loss, heart palpitations, irregular periods and fatigue among other symptoms. Hypothyroid, or low thyroid hormone levels, can also lead to fatigue, weight gain, depression, dry skin and hair and irregular periods.

Testosterone

Teen girls also have testosterone and it is one of the culprits of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) but can also cause other health issues such as dark hair growth on the face and problems with acne.

 Things You Can Do to Support Your Hormonal Teen

Adequate nutrition

Quality proteins, nutrient-dense plant foods, and healthy fats provide the vitamins, minerals, and raw materials your child’s body needs to manufacture hormones and build a healthy microbiome. 

 

The gut is intricately connected to every other system in the body, including the brain and hormone systems. Much of what goes on in the digestive system will affect your teen physically and mentally. 

Teach stress management

Hormonal changes can be incredibly stressful for teens, and it’s important to teach them proper coping mechanisms to help them thrive physically, emotionally, socially, and academically. 

Start by modeling healthy stress management techniques, like journaling or exercising, and make sure they have a healthy outlet for big or difficult feelings.

 

Get consistent and adequate sleep

Because your teen is going through so many changes, and often has a busy school schedule, adequate and consistent sleep is a must. During this time teens may need as much as 10 hours of sleep every night–especially if they’re experiencing a growth spurt.

 

Keep devices out of the bedroom, and stick to a consistent sleep and waking schedule each day. Do your best to help your teen keep their room clean, cool, and inviting each night to facilitate healthier sleep.

Call Atlantic & Endocrinology Diabetes Center today and set up a consultation with our compassionate, expert team. We’re here to listen to your concerns and help you find the safest and most effective solution to teen hormone imbalance.

Understanding different types of bone cancer

Understanding different types of bone cancer

At Atlantic Endocrinology & Diabetes Center we know that bone cancer is relatively rare, accounting for 1% of all cancer cases in the United States.

Quite often, bone cancer is the result of metastasis. This means that cancer from elsewhere has spread to the bone. These cancers show the original cancerous cells and not those associated with bone cancer. In these cases, the cancer is treated by following the original course of treatment for the initial tumor.

But there are also primary cancers of the bone. This means that the cancer starts in the bone. Primary bone cancer is not common. Only 2 of every 1000 cancers diagnosed in the US each year are primary bone cancer. Bones are composed of:

  • Osteoid tissue (hard or compact)
  • Cartilaginous tissue (tough, flexible)
  • Fibrous tissue (threadlike)
  • Bone marrow (soft, spongy tissue in the center of most bones)

The type of bone cancer depends on where in the bone it starts.

There are two main types of bone cancer. In adults, cancers that form in the organs and spread to the bones, or metastasize, are the most common and are called secondary bone cancers. Primary bone cancers, also called bone sarcomas, develop in the bones and often spread to other areas.

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The primary forms of bone cancer from most common to least common include:

  • Osteosarcomas are tumors of the bone and are the most common form of bone cancer. Osteosarcomas are usually diagnosed in young people, but they do occur in older adults. These tumors often form in the arms, legs, or pelvis.
  • Ewing tumor (Ewing sarcoma) is the second most common bone cancer in young people and third most common overall. These bone tumors often form in the hip, ribs, shoulder blades, spine, and legs.
  • Chondrosarcoma forms in cartilage cells. The risk for this type of cancer increases with age and is rare in patients under 20. Chondrosarcomas are graded by severity from one to three.
  • High-grade undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS) is another rare form of cancer that is often found in the soft tissues but can also occur in the bones, especially the legs, arms, and abdomen. It can also occur in areas of the body where radiation was received. UPS is most common in middle-aged and elderly adults.
  • Fibrosarcoma is also rare in bones, occurring mostly in the soft tissues. It usually forms in the legs, arms, and jaw and is most common among adults 50 and older.
  • Chordoma is a rare bone tumor that most often forms at the bottom of the spine or the base of the skull. It’s commonly diagnosed in older adults.

Giant cell tumor is another primary bone tumor often occurring in young people between age 20 and 30. However, the tumor is noncancerous, or benign, and usually forms near the joints of long bones, such as the shins and thighs.

The secondary types of bone cancer

There are several types of secondary bone cancer. These cancers are slightly different from metastasized bone cancer because they don’t form in the bone cells. Instead, they form in the blood or immune cells found in bone marrow.

The secondary types of bone cancer include:

  • Multiple myeloma forms in a type of immune cells called plasma cells that are in the bone marrow. This type of bone cancer may develop as a single tumor but is usually found in several bones.
  • Leukemia forms in the blood cells of bone marrow. There are many different types of leukemia. It can happen to people of all ages but is the most common cancer among young people.
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma develops in the white blood cells of areas in the body that have lymph tissue. Primary non-Hodgkin lymphoma of the bone is a very rare type of lymphoma that forms in the bones.

Bone Cancer Risk Factors

Research is increasing regarding what we know about bone cancer. Scientists are learning more about its causes. Following are common risk factors for the disease:

Genetic Disorders – A small number of bone tumors are believed to be the result of genetic mutations:

  • The Li-Fraumeni Syndrome – A mutation of the p53 tumor suppressor gene makes people much more likely to develop several types of cancer, including breast cancer, brain cancer, osteosarcoma, and other types of sarcoma.
  • Rothmund-Thomson Syndrome – Children with this syndrome are short, have skeletal problems, and rashes. They also are more likely to develop osteosarcoma.
  • Multiple Exostoses Syndrome – Patients with this inherited condition that causes many bumps on a person’s bones can have an increased risk of chondrosarcoma.

Radiation – Exposure to large doses of radiation may increase the risk of developing bone cancer. Radioactive materials such as radium and strontium can also cause bone cancer because these minerals build up in bones.

Ways to Support Your Thyroid & Mental Health

Ways to Support Your Thyroid & Mental Health

Thyroid health is something that isn’t as widely discussed as it should be. Many of us are simply unaware of the impact poor thyroid health can have on our overall well-being. 

Perhaps the least understood aspect of thyroid health relates to the role this gland and its function in hormone release plays in supporting mental health. All too often, people consider the impact on physical wellbeing and little attention is given to mental health.

Let’s take a closer look at this relationship, as well as establishing some of the best ways to support your thyroid health.

 

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The psychological symptoms of thyroid problems

Some of the most common thyroid disorders include hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid), hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), thyroid cancer and thyroid-related eye conditions. What many people don’t know is that people with thyroid disorders often have mental and emotional health symptoms as well as physical symptoms.

According to studies, some of the most prominent symptoms of an overactive thyroid are nervousness, anxiety, irritability and mood swings. It can also cause difficulty sleeping, as well as increased tiredness, weakness and sensitivity. Similarly, an underactive thyroid can also result in tiredness, as well as feelings of depression and low mood.

Whatever kind of thyroid disorder you develop, it will likely make you feel more emotional, and result in rapid and unpredictable changes in mood. Thyroid under activity has also been known to cause significant cognitive concerns such as difficulties with concentration, short-term memory lapses, a lack of interest and a reduction in mental alertness.

What causes these issues?

So how does a problem with your thyroid result in mental and emotional concerns? The answer lies in the abnormal thyroid hormone levels caused by thyroid disorders. Rapid changes in hormone levels can unsettle the emotions, and an unstable thyroid leads to unstable hormone release.

Sometimes the psychological impact of a thyroid disorder can be the result of secondary stimuli. The stress of battling illness can lead to increased levels of anxiety and depression, creating a vicious cycle. Likewise, thyroid disorders can result in physical changes like weight loss or gain, and hair loss, all of which can have an impact on confidence and mood.

Are Thyroid and Depression More Common in Women Than Men?

Yes, women are more prone to develop thyroid conditions than men. Women are also more likely to suffer from depression than men. Owing to biology, women are more susceptible to hormone-induced depression.

Several major hormonal changes that take place in a woman’s life can cause depression and low mood:

  1. Premenstrual syndrome
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Postpartum depression – depression after the delivery of the baby
  4. Menopause – depression around cessation of menses

A number of different medical practitioners and researchers have written books about how thyroid problems can negatively affect brain and contribute to mental illness:

  • “Brain cells have more thyroid hormone receptors than any other tissue, which means that a proper uptake of thyroid hormone is essential for the brain cells to work properly.” – Dr. Barry Durrant-Peatfield, MD, Author of Your Thyroid and How to Keep It Healthy.
  • “How much of what we call “mental illness” is actually thyroid-driven? In my experience, a vast majority.” – Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD, Author of A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives.
  • “T3 [thyroid hormone] is actually a bona fide neurotransmitter. If you don’t have enough T3, or if its action is blocked, an entire cascade of neurotransmitter abnormalities may ensue, which can lead to mood and energy changes, including depression and anxiety.”– Dr. Christiane Northrup, MD, Author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing.
  • “Scientists now consider thyroid hormone one of the major players in brain chemistry disorders. And as with any brain chemical disorder, until treated correctly, thyroid hormone imbalance has serious effects on the patient’s emotions and behavior.” – Dr. Ridha Arem, MD, Author of The Thyroid Solution: A Mind Body Program for Beating Depression and Regaining Your Emotional and Physical Health.

So if you struggle with brain or mental illness, you likely do not need a prescription for antidepressants, antipsychotics and antianxiety medication. What you really need is to support your thyroid. At Atlantic Endocrinology & Diabetes Center we treat the underlying thyroid problem, it is critical to alleviating the associated psychiatric symptoms.

It is quite confusing at times to determine whether a person has depression or a thyroid imbalance because both have similar symptoms. Also, just having tested normal for TSH does not imply you do not have a thyroid imbalance. You need to check on your T3 and T4 levels as well, to determine whether you have a thyroid problem or not.

Consult your general practitioner as well as a mental health professional for your thyroid and depression issues, so that they can be treated properly and simultaneously.

The Endocrine System: The Adrenal Glands 

The Endocrine System: The Adrenal Glands

Adrenal Disorders

Hormones produced in the adrenal glands include cortisol, adrenaline and aldosterone. Production that is too much or too little can result in adrenal disorders that affect the way your body functions. Adrenal crisis is a medical emergency that happens when there is a severe lack of cortisol.

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What are adrenal disorders?

There are many conditions that can lead to problems with the adrenal gland function. The adrenal glands are small and shaped like triangles and are located just above each kidney. They are sometimes called suprarenal glands. Their job is to make hormones that you need to keep your metabolism, blood pressure, immune system and stress response in balance.

Adrenal disorders are the result of your glands making too much or not enough of certain hormones. Hormones produced by the adrenals include hydrocortisone (also called cortisol), adrenaline and aldosterone.

You can think of dominoes and how one movement by one domino sets off a chain reaction, making the next domino in line fall down. If something happens and the next domino doesn’t get the message, the effect is ruined.

The dangers of chronic stress

At Atlantic Endocrinology & Diabetes Center we know chronic stress happens when the body is constantly responding to stress and is not able to fully recover. Cortisol remains high even for long periods of time. High-pressure jobs, financial hardship, relationship troubles, and trauma are just a few sources of long-term stress that can have harmful psychological and physiological effects.

Continuous fight-or-flight responses and HPA activity are rough on the body. Chronic stress can increase the risk of a number of health conditions including, but not limited to:

  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Ulcers
  • Sexual dysfunction

You also may have heard of a recent study by Zhang et al. confirming that stress can actually make your hair turn prematurely gray. Well, it’s true! It turns out that the norepinephrine, used as a neurotransmitter by the sympathetic nervous system’s response to stress, depletes a population of skin cells called melanocyte stem cells (MeSCs). MeSCs generate new melanocytes, the cells responsible for giving hair its pigment.

How common are adrenal disorders?

Adrenal disorders can happen to anyone. Within the individual conditions, some of them may happen more often to females than males, such as Cushing’s syndrome.

What is adrenal insufficiency?

Adrenal insufficiency happens when the adrenal glands don’t produce enough cortisol and sometimes aldosterone. The production decreases when the adrenal cortex (the glands’ outer layer) is destroyed. This occurs most often when you have an autoimmune disease that causes your body to attack the glands. It can also be caused by tumors, tuberculosis and other types of infections. This condition is known as primary adrenal insufficiency.

Secondary adrenal insufficiency, which is more common than the primary form, happens because you don’t have enough of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), the hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. If your pituitary doesn’t make enough ACTH, your adrenal glands don’t make enough cortisol.

Secondary adrenal insufficiency most often happens when you have been taking glucocorticoids (like prednisone) for an extended amount of time and then stop too quickly rather than tapering down gradually. It can also develop due to tumors in the pituitary glands pressing on the normal pituitary cells or from surgery or radiation to the pituitary gland.

What does adrenal crisis mean?

Adrenal crisis is a medical emergency. It’s the most serious complication of adrenal insufficiency and happens due to a severe lack of cortisols. An adrenal crisis can be life-threatening. Symptoms of adrenal crisis include:

  • Severe pain in your lower body that comes on quickly.
  • Bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Weakness.
  • Confusion and loss of consciousness.
  • Low blood glucose,
  • Low blood pressure.

If you have adrenal insufficiency, you should always have an injectable form of glucocorticoid medicine with you, and you should wear some type of medical alert jewelry with that information. Make sure your family and friends know how to give the injection in the case of an emergency.

Other hormone imbalances and symptoms can occur with adrenal disorders. These include having too much potassium (hyperkalemia) or not enough sodium (hyponatremia) in your blood.

The 4 Types Of Adrenal Disease 

The 4 Types Of Adrenal Disease 

 

from salivation to perspiration, at Atlantic Endocrinology & Diabetes Center we know your body relies on glands to carry out many vital functions.

Your endocrine system contains eight main glands to keep it running smoothly:

  • Hypothalamus
  • Pineal body
  • Pituitary
  • Thyroid
  • Thymus
  • Pancreas
  • Ovary or testis
  • Adrenal

These glands secrete hormones that control energy levels, metabolism, sexual function, growth and development, pain response, stress, and mood. 

At  Atlantic Endocrinology & Diabetes Center, New York, our team of endocrinologists provide expert care for patients suffering from endocrine-related disorders and diseases. Here, we take a deeper dive into the potential problems with adrenal glands to give you a better understanding of the symptoms, causes, and treatments available when things go wrong.

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About adrenal glands

Each of your two kidneys is topped by a small, triangular-shaped adrenal gland — they’re also known as suprarenal glands. Only about 3 inches long, they’re powerful hormone producers. The adrenal glands generate:

  • Cortisol, which affects blood pressure, metabolism, immunity, bones and nerves, and the heart
  • Aldosterone, which affects fluid retention
  • Androgen, which converts into sex hormones
  • Adrenaline, which regulates blood pressure, metabolism, and heart function

If these glands overproduce or underproduce, you may experience significant health issues, including one of the following four adrenal diseases. 

  • Adrenal cancer

Adrenal cancer is extremely rare, affecting only about 200 people in the United States every year. Because there are two distinct parts of the adrenal gland — the outer part called the cortex, and the inner part called the medulla — cancers that attack the adrenal glands are categorized according to the portion of the gland they affect.

Cancer of the adrenal cortex is a carcinoma, while cancer in the medulla is a neuroblastoma. It’s also possible to develop benign tumors in either section. Although researchers can’t definitively say what causes adrenal cancer, it’s often associated with certain genetic syndromes that also increase your risk for other types of cancer. Smoking may also contribute to your risk for adrenal cancer.

Adrenal cancer symptoms include: unexplained weight loss or gain, weakness, nausea, abdominal or back pain, blood sugar spikes, bloating, and loss of appetite. 

Because adrenal cancer is aggressive, our treatments must be as well. Although radiation and chemotherapy are options, surgical removal of the affected tissue is often the most prudent course.

  • Adrenal incidentaloma

As its name suggests, adrenal incidentalomas are incidental or unexpected tumors. We typically find them accidentally during an imaging test, as they don’t usually cause warning signs. When they are symptomatic, you may notice:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Mood or sleep problems
  • Acne
  • Easily bruised skin

About 85% of adrenal incidentalomas are considered non functioning, meaning they need no treatment. However, if the tumor is producing excess hormones — a functioning adrenal incidentaloma — we may need to surgically remove it.

  • Addison’s disease

Out of every 100,000 people, only four have Addison’s disease, a condition marked by underactive adrenal glands. Adrenal insufficiency results in potentially life-threatening low levels of cortisol and aldosterone.

Primary Addison’s disease is often attributed to an autoimmune disorder, but it can also be triggered by tuberculosis or infection. Secondary Addison’s may be due to a lack of a certain hormone produced by the pituitary gland, called adrenocorticotropin (ACTH). Without ACTH, your cortisol level plummets.

The symptoms of Addison’s disease are similar to those of other adrenal problems but may also include:

  • Craving salty foods
  • Lightheadedness
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Skin darkening
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Cushing’s disease

High levels of the hormone cortisol can lead to Cushing’s disease. This can occur due to a malfunction that causes your adrenal glands to overproduce this hormone, or it may be the result of steroid treatments that are often used to combat conditions such as: inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis, severe asthma, or lupus. Those with Cushing’s disease experience:

  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure and blood sugar
  • Increased abdominal fat
  • Thin skin and weak bones
  • Easy bruising and poor wound healing
  • Mood disorders
  • Rounded face
  • Frequent thirst and urination

Cushing’s disease can often be countered by drugs that reduce your cortisol level, but sometimes radiation therapy is needed. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

If you suspect you have an adrenal gland condition, don’t wait — schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today. Request and appointment online or call us at our office.

How are adrenal disorders diagnosed and treated? 

The diagnosis of various adrenal disorders may vary on a case-by-case basis. However, the initial process usually begins by talking with your primary care doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing. Keeping a journal of particular symptoms and when they arise may better assist your primary care doctor in diagnosing, monitoring, and Treating Adrenal Disorders

After discussing symptoms, your doctor may order a blood test to check potassium and sodium levels. They can also conduct imaging, including MRIs or a CT scan that can detect potential tumors, abdominal swelling, or other issues related to adrenal disorders. 

Treatment for adrenal disorders in which tumors manifest either on the glands themselves or on the pituitary gland typically involves some sort of surgery. The operation may be minimally invasive depending on the size or severity of the tumors. The pros of this treatment include accurate, total removal of the tumors, and patients may not need additional surgeries. The downside to surgery can be the risk factors involved, including infection and recovery time. 

For adrenal disorders involving tumors, there is a chance for curability. When found early and removed, adrenal cancer can be halted together. The same goes for pituitary tumors. Invasive surgery through the nostrils can remove these growths and restore a healthy function. If left untreated cancerous tumors can spread to other internal organs and pose life-threatening issues. 

Our doctors team, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals at Atlantic Endocrinology are here to help. For our services visit our website and schedule your appointment.