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Ask your Cushing's (cortisol) questions here


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Old 07-05-2005, 04:54 PM   #1
Cushie
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Ask your Cushing's (cortisol) questions here

I've noticed a lot of talk about Cushing's and cortisol levels. Since I had Cushing's Syndrome (and now have Addison's) I would be more than happy to answer any questions anyone has.

In case you are new to this and are unsure of how ACTH, cortisol, etc works here is a brief outline of what happens when you have Cushing's:

Your pituitary gland is called your master gland. The pituitary's job is to tell all your hormones how to work, and when to work overtime. So say you're almost in a car accident, the pituitary says, "OH NO!" and tells the adrenals to pump out more cortisol. They do, and send a message back to the pituitary that they've done their job, does the pituitary need anything else? If not, they'll calm down and cortisol will return to normal. Cortisol is highest in the morning, and it's what helps get out of bed. At night, cortisol goes down to almost nothing and that helps you sleep. If you have Cushing's that whole system is screwed up and you become a hopeless insomniac.

In Cushing's the whole talking back and forth gets screwed up. In the pituitary it puts out a hormone called ACTH. The pit actually does not produce cortisol. BUT it is responsible for the adrenals putting out the cortisol. When you have a pituitary tumor for Cushing's the tumor is comprised of ACTH. That tumor's ACTH takes over and the normal ACTH from the pit takes a long nap.

So instead of the pit doing all the work, the tumor does it. And the tumor is always working, 24 hours a day. So those poor work-horse adrenals are always going, spitting out cortisol all the time. Alternatively, if you have an adrenal tumor then it always puts out cortisol and tells the pit with it's ACTH to take a hike. The other adrenal (you have two) says, "heck, that guy gets all the work. I'm sneaking out and not working. Nobody will notice."

Either way you end up with way too much cortisol. The body is meant to have only so much cortisol, with extra available if needed. When you have surgery to either remove the pit tumor or the adrenal tumor then the ones that weren't working are suddenly, and without warning, called to action. And they just aren't ready. So they wake up, but very slowly and need to be helped along with man-made cortisol in the form of, most commonly, prednisone or hydrocortisone. After six months to a year the adrenal or pituitary wakes up and the man-made cortisol can be done with.

 
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Old 07-06-2005, 02:30 PM   #2
Fireplace
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Re: Ask your Cushing's (cortisol) questions here

HI Cushie!

Do you remember what your 24 hour unrinalysis results were?

Thanks

 
Old 07-06-2005, 04:41 PM   #3
Cushie
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Re: Ask your Cushing's (cortisol) questions here

I do, they were 77 on a scale up to 50.

 
Old 07-07-2005, 02:19 PM   #4
Fireplace
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Re: Ask your Cushing's (cortisol) questions here

Thanks.. how did you feel? I have had boarderline high cortisol in the blood for a couple years... also hasi thyroid and panic disorder for about 30 years... my blood is now 22 the high end of normal and my urine was 56 out of 50 but I have recently experienced a lot of stress and depression...

 
Old 07-08-2005, 08:29 AM   #5
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Re: Ask your Cushing's (cortisol) questions here

Cushie,

See prevous post and this one.. was your cortisol up all day long or did it go up and down during the day? Thanks

 
Old 07-12-2005, 10:23 AM   #6
zorm
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Re: Ask your Cushing's (cortisol) questions here

Hi cushie,
you replied to me on the research board. Im really messed up at the moment so sick. Can cushings just come on like that mine just happened in january. Does it causes water liquid retention in body especially face. i have tender to touch on left side of stomach and side round lower back could this mean anything. this is so so horrible just need to know about right tests to ask for. getting bad headaches around period time and then going freezing cold. My cheeks litereally look like they are sucked in when i have a headache. Can tumors elsewhere pre dispose you to headaches. no pit tumor showed up on my mri scan although no contrast was used?

Thanks

zoe

 
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