Do you think you might have Cushing syndrome symptoms? As hard as it is to detect, it’s crucial to diagnose Cushing’s disease at the right time. So that you can start the proper treatment immediately.
Treating Cushing syndrome could be a challenge. Luckily, there are ways you can lower your excess cortisol levels naturally. Natural foods that can help manage the symptoms of Cushing syndrome.
In this blog, you’ll learn all the basics about Cushing syndrome. Moreover, how you can reduce cortisol levels at home through diet.
What is cushing syndrome?
Cushing syndrome is a hormonal imbalance disorder that causes an abundance of cortisol. This stress hormone in your body, causes hypercortisolism.
Primarily, the function of cortisol is to boost your immune system and improve your body’s response to stress. It’s also responsible for regulating blood sugar levels and preventing diabetes. Cortisol further helps metabolic activities, reduces inflammation, and enhances memory.
But excess of anything can be harmful – especially hormones.
With Cushing syndrome, there’s a high amount of cortisol in your body that could lead to serious complications. This disease usually affects people aged 30 years or more and is also common in children. However, Cushing syndrome largely affects women than the male population.
What are the symptoms of Cushing syndrome?
Cushing syndrome shows numerous signs and symptoms including;
- Round face
- Easy bruising anywhere on the body
- Memory issues
- Extreme fatigue
- Thin arms and loss of muscle
- Weight gain in limbs
- Muscle weakness
- Hump-back because of fat deposit between shoulder blades
- Loss of interest in sex
- Bone loss
- Erectile dysfunction
- High blood pressure
- Fat deposit in the nape of the neck
- Slowed healing from cuts, bites, and injuries
- Excess hair growth in body parts
- Hair loss from the scalp in women
- Cardiovascular or heart issues
- Unregulated blood sugar
- Irritability, depression, and mood swings
- Purplish stretch marks on the body
- Skipped periods in women
- Difficulty in conceiving
- Improper nervous functions
- Slow growth in children
- Susceptibility to infections
What are the causes of Cushing syndrome?
Pituitary adenomas, the most common cause, of the Cushing syndrome is tumor formation in the pituitary gland. It accounts for about 70% of all Cushing syndrome cases. The Cushing disease is progressive and only worsens with time. However, several medicines are available to manage symptoms of cortisol increase.
Tumors in adrenal glands
Tumors in adrenal glands are yet another cause of Cushing syndrome. These tumors might be benign or cancerous. The adrenal gland is responsible for releasing cortisol. However, sometimes the presence of adrenal adenomas can lead to excess production of this hormone. The cancerous adrenal adenomas although not common, release abundant cortisol rapidly which often shows up as severe symptoms of Cushing syndrome.
Some people also experience Cushing syndrome because of glucocorticoids. These drugs are recommended to patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or other inflammatory diseases that cause stress. They may lead to extra production of cortisol in your body as well.
How is Cushing syndrome diagnosed?
Cushing syndrome can be tricky to diagnose because of its similarity of symptoms with PCOS. Several lab tests and radiology reports are required to conclude whether or not you have Cushing syndrome.
A physical exam might be conducted to check your body for superficial signs such as bruises. You may be asked questions about fatigue, headaches, etc.
In terms of lab tests, you may be asked by your healthcare professional to go for a urinary test to check cortisol levels in your urine. Next, you might be asked for an overnight dexamethasone suppression test. It helps understand whether the high cortisol levels are subject to steroid intake. Blood and saliva are thoroughly investigated for confirmation.
Some doctors also recommend an MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging to determine the nature or presence of tumors. In serious cases, a CT scan is ordered to examine the chest or abdomen.
How long can you live with Cushing syndrome?
If not treated on time, the Cushing syndrome can be fatal. The survival rate for uncontrolled Cushing disease patients is 4.5 years. However, timely treatments can help you live for up to 40 years.
This is usually because of the complications caused by cortisol abundance. It affects numerous critical systems of your body, including blood pressure and blood circulation. Not to mention, it can heavily affect sugar levels and metabolic activities. All these systems together need to be balanced to enhance life expectancy.
Can Cushing syndrome be cured?
Fortunately, it’s possible to cure Cushing syndrome, but it requires quality treatment and time. You may need to alter your lifestyle and take medications on time. You’ll also need to visit doctors for follow-ups so they can check progress.
If proper treatment is done, you can get rid of excess cortisol in just a few months. Again, it all depends on the action plan.
Besides drugs, doctors may need to carry out surgeries or radiation therapies to treat Cushing’s syndrome. It is usually necessary in cases where tumors are present in pituitary glands. The success rate of such surgeries is about 90%, and in case of failure (which is rare), the surgery is attempted again.
If surgery doesn’t work, radiation is the go-to treatment. Either small doses of radiation are given for about one and a half months, or one large dose is administered. You might experience a delay in normal cortisol production for a while, and doctors would prescribe drugs to tackle this lack.
Best foods to treat Cushing syndrome
You can also bring down the cortisol levels naturally through foods and herbs. Here are some exceptional foods that are known to lower cortisol:
Bananas are packed with potassium. Making them an ideal food for relieving stress. It’s also a good fruit enriched with essential B vitamins, which are needed for serotonin production.
Eating magnesium-rich foods such as avocado is also a good choice for lowering cortisol naturally. This mineral helps relax your mind and prevent serious neurological disorders from stress.
Foods high in probiotics such as milk or yogurt are excellent sources of compounds that help balance neurotransmitter release. Moreover, your hormones stay balanced, and there are no cortisol-related health problems.
Almost all dark green leafy vegetables, including spinach, broccoli, and kale, contain high amounts of magnesium that can help you tackle excess cortisol.
If you frequently struggle with high stress, consume dark chocolate (cocoa) every day for about 14 days. Your cortisol levels would drop dramatically!
Chamomile has a sedative effects. It is a great tea to drink before bedtime, as it helps calm your mind and ensures a good night’s rest.
This lesser-known herb is an excellent option for anyone seeking to lower cortisol because of its high endurance and stamina-development benefits.
Taking ashwagandha for about three months can boost your mental health and help reduce cortisol levels.
Lavender is good for it’s deep relaxation effects. Apply lavender essential oil in your bedroom or hair to deal with stress.