Friday, June 18, 2010

More on Cushing's Disorder

I've wondered a long time about what was going on with Bailey.... never in a million years did I think to ask about Cushing's Disorder....but after researching extensively....this diagnoses fits.

She's gained a remarkable amount of weight, even though she's active. She has the classic "buffalo hump" (That's a awful way to describe something on a human being), the upper body weight, long/thin legs and arms.

But Cushing's Disorder brings with it far more than physical affects. When we started putting this puzzle together, the pieces fit perfectly.

The exhaustion and the mood swings have been something we just attributed to hormones, or being a "teenager". But now we know that there is something much bigger going on.

Bailey will undergo a very easy test that measures the cortisol levels in her body. When someone has Cushing's, it is typically caused by a tumor or tumors on the pituitary gland or adrenal glands. This tumor causes the body to produce large amounts of ACTH (adrenocorticotropin). This excess ACTH causes the body to produce extra cortisol.

Cortisol performs vital tasks in the body. Cortisol helps:
  • Maintain blood pressure and cardiovascular function
  • Reduce the immune system's inflammatory response
  • Balance the effects of insulin in breaking down sugar for energy
  • Regulate the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
  • Assist the body as it responds to stress.
When the amount of cortisol in the blood is adequate, the hypothalamus and pituitary release less CRH and ACTH. This ensures that the amount of cortisol released by the adrenal glands is precisely balanced to meet the body's daily needs. However, if something goes wrong with the adrenals (or with their regulating switches in the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus) the level of cortisol produced may be more or less than what the body needs.
When those levels are too high, the symptoms of Cushings begin to present themselves.

  • Extreme weight gain, especially around the midsection and upper back
  • Reddish-blue streaks on the skin
  • Excess hair growth
  • Growth retardation
  • Missed periods in teenage girls
  • High blood pressure
  • Acne
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Either very early or late puberty.

  • Since Bailey just had TWO MRI's, that showed no pituitary tumor, the Drs. are thinking that the tumors could be on her adrenal glands. Further testing and possible surgery is in store for Bailey, after our move to Denver.

    This move has been particularly stressful for me....there is so much going on medically, with the kids, that I can hardly keep up. (Not to mention my own medical needs)

    Packing is the easy part...keeping it packed and organized is a whole different story. The kids miss their "stuff"....the transition is hard for them.

    I am ready to be done with this whole moving thing....I want to be in a place of stability. I want to feel secure that the kids will have their needs met...this includes basic things like medical insurance. It blows my mind that medical coverage is either 1) too expensive to have or 2) Not available because you happen to make a few dollars to much.

    What kind of country do we live in, when those in prison, receive better health care, than the working American? I am livid, and hurt that the good people of this world, suffer endlessly.

    All I can do is continue to fight. Continue to stand up and push back...and most of all, continue to THRIVE!!

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