A rare disease, but one that may be exacerbated by the confinement of the pandemic. Learn how to identify it.
Cushing’s syndrome, also known as hypercortisolism, occurs when the body is exposed to high levels of the hormone cortisol for a long time. The Mayo Clinic states that the condition can result from the use of oral corticosteroid medications used in patient with diseases such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, or when the body releases too much cortisol on its own.
Cortisol can be produced for several reasons, but one of the most common is stress. When this hormone is released in normal amounts, it helps the body perform tasks such as converting fat into energy, keeping the immune system under control, and reacting to stress. Nonetheless, when it occurs excessively, it can trigger this type of disorder.
The Clinic explains that such excess can produce some of the distinctive signs of Cushing’s syndrome: weight gain, a hump of fat between the shoulders, a rounded face, pink or purple stretch marks on the skin, and acne. Treatment for the disease depends on its cause. If the excess cortisol is due to external factors, the patient should discontinue medication and expect a quick recovery.
On the other hand, if the causes are internal, the person will have to undergo different studies to determine what is causing the production of cortisol, and if it is due to stress, doctors may recommend medications that help regulate cortisol or relaxing therapies.
In this time of Covid-19, it is normal for humans to present stress patterns. In fact, according to a survey of more than 12,000 employees worldwide done by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence, a human resources research and consulting firm, 2020 has been the most stressful year in the workplace. This is why it is important to be alert to possible changes and symptoms related to excess cortisol.
Read also: Lots of stress? Try a relaxation technique