Cushings Syndrome: The causes, effects, and treatments of the disease.

Essay by iamgeniusHigh School, 11th gradeA+, March 2003

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The endocrine system disorder I chose to do my report on is Cushing's syndrome. The main cause of Cushing's syndrome is a small non-cancerous tumor on the pituitary gland that causes it to produce too much cortisol. The most noticeable symptoms are weight gain on the face and in other parts of the body. Cushing's syndrome is usually diagnosed by medical tests and x-rays. Treatment usually depends on the cause, but a full recovery happens in most cases. Today research is being done to better help those with a pituitary gland problem.

Cushing's syndrome is sometimes called hypercortisolism; it is a relatively rare disease that affects an estimated 10 to 15 people out of every one million in a given year. It is rare in children and usually affects adults aged 20 to 50. It affects five times as many women as men. Not only does it affects humans and also is found in dogs and horses along with many other large mammals.

Cushing's syndrome is caused by many different factors. The main cause; however, is problems with the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland has a number of functions including the making of Adrenocorticotropin (ACTH). ACTH has but only one function, which is to travel through the blood and stimulate the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. There are two adrenal glands both located on top of each of kidneys. The primary and most important function of the adrenal glands is to produce cortisol. Cortisol is a very important hormone necessary for our survival. Cortisol circulates in the bloodstream and attaches to nearly every cell in the body exerting biologic effects. Cortisol helps to maintain a normal blood pressure by affecting blood vessels. Without cortisol our blood pressure would drop to dangerously low levels and shock would occur. It also...