Myth: “All Cushing’s patients have the exact same symptoms

Myth: “All Cushing’s patients have the exact same symptoms and the level of illness is the same for everyone. If you do not have ALL of the classic symptoms of Cushing’s, then you must NOT have Cushing’s Syndrome/Disease!”

myth-busted

Fact: Everyone does NOT have the exact same symptoms. Not all Cushing’s patients are exactly the same. This is one mistake that non experts tend to make in terms of categorizing patients by whether they meet the exact same classic symptoms or not. Experts have come to learn that each patient should be treated individually. Though there are symptoms that are more prominent in the Cushing’s population, not every patient has to meet every single symptom in order to meet criteria for Cushing’s.

For instance, not all Cushing’s patients become overweight. Everyone does not gain the same amount of weight. There are various theories as to why. One issue is that different patients are diagnosed at different stages of the illness. We know that patients tend not to be diagnosed at the onset of the illness because of doctors’ misconception that Cushing’s patients must be extremely obese to have the disease. So, patients who have not gained as much weight may not be listened to until after the weight has gotten out of control. However, there ARE patients who are diagnosed early enough where there has not been a tremendous amount of weight gain.

I (Karen Ternier Thames), for one, started trying to get help after gaining my first 30 pounds because I KNEW that something was wrong with my body. Had I received an appropriate diagnosis, I probably would not have gained the 150 pounds I ended up gaining in 5 years.

Regardless of the reason, it is a myth that all Cushing’s patients gain the same amount of weight. The following are other additional reasons that an endocrinologist gave me for supposedly not meeting the criteria for Cushing’s when I was misdiagnosed: “1. Your stretch marks are not purple enough”, 2. “Your buffalo hump is not large enough”, 3. “You are not THAT fat!”, 4. “Cushing’s patients do NOT have children”, and 5. ” your face does not look like a classic moon face”. These are some of the reasons why, 2 years earlier, this same doctor dismissed apparently high cortisol levels, and didn’t even tell me, leading to several more years of suffering!

So, not all Cushing’s patients are obese, not all Cushing’s patients gain the same weight at the same rate, not all Cushing’s patients have the same size buffalo hump or the same round moon face. There are variations in these symptoms. IF you are experiencing extreme changes in your body regardless of diet and exercise and its not influenced by external factors, then it is time to speak up!

It is important to raise concern with your doctor if you do have ANY Cushing’s symptoms. Please do not be inhibited if you do not show every single symptom!

Myth: “Men1 and Men2 are the only genetic causes of Cushing’s”

Myth: “Men1 and Men2 are the only genetic causes of Cushing’s”

myth-busted

FACT: This is a Myth. More current research has explored multiple etiologies of Cushing’s. It was once thought that heredity had no influence on the development of Cushing’s Syndrome/Disease and our knowledge was once limited in this sense. Researchers have done more work in terms of exploring genetic factors in the onset of this disease. *~Robin Ess (Cushing’s educator and advocate)

The following causes for Cushing’s have all been explored:

1. Men 1

2. Men2

3. FIPA

4. CAH/BAH

5. PRKAR1A(protein kinase,cAMP-dependent, regulatory, type I, ? gene)

http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/564106_2

6.(PDE11A)

http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/564106_4

http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/564106_6

7.PRKACA

http://www.nature.com/nrendo/journal/v10/n8/pdf/nrendo.2014.89.pdf?WT.ec_id=NRENDO-201408

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24700472

http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v46/n6/full/ng.2956.html

https://www.genomeweb.com/sequencing/exome-sequencing-study-narrows-new-cushings-syndrome-gene-culprit

8.ARMC5

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141013090455.htm

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1304603

Myth: UFC’s are the Gold Standard for Cushing’s testing

Myth: UFC’s are the Gold Standard for Cushing’s testing

myth-busted

Fact: UFC stands for Urinary Free Cortisol. In layman’s terms this test assesses cortisol by collecting urine for 24 hours. It was once thought that this was the gold standard and the end all and be all in terms of assessing Cushing’s in a patient. What we now know is that this is not necessarily true. Though this test is helpful in assessing for Cushing’s in some patients, not all patients have positive labs with this test, even if they DO, in fact, have Cushing’s.

There are various theories as to why. Cyclical Cushing’s patients also tend to report having a lower prevalence of positive UFCs in their test batteries.

Cushing’s experts understand that the most effective way to test for Cushing’s, especially in cases where it is suspected that the patient is cycling, is to administer multiple test measures across an extended period of time.

The following links may be helpful:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2978784/

http://home.comcast.net/~staticnrg/Cushing’s/LimitationsSC_UFC_dex_mildCS.pdf

http://survivethejourney.blogspot.com/2008/08/when-gold-standard-becomes-tarnished.html

Genetics of adrenal diseases in 2014: Genetics improves understanding of adrenocortical tumours

2014 has seen advances in our understanding of benign and malignant tumours of the adrenal cortex, particularly in Cushing syndrome. Modern genetics has generated a flurry of data. The challenge is to give sense to them; however, the difficulties of collecting the clinical data must not be underestimated.

Download this information at http://www.nature.com/nrendo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nrendo.2014.215.html

  • References
  1. Beuschlein, F. et al. Constitutive activation of PKA catalytic subunit in adrenal Cushing’s syndrome. N. Engl. J. Med. 370, 10191028 (2014).
  2. Goh, G. et al. Recurrent activating mutation in PRKACA in cortisol-producing adrenal tumors. Nat. Genet. 46, 613617 (2014).
  3. Sato, Y. et al. Recurrent somatic mutations underlie corticotropin-independent Cushing’s syndrome. Science 344, 917920 (2014).
  4. Cao, Y. et al. Activating hotspot L205R mutation in PRKACA and adrenal Cushing’s syndrome. Science 344, 913917 (2014).
  5. Assié, G. et al. ARMC5 mutations in macronodular adrenal hyperplasia with Cushing’s syndrome. N. Engl. J. Med. 369, 21052114 (2013).
  6. Assié, G. et al. Integrated genomic characterization of adrenocortical carcinoma. Nat. Genet. 46, 607612 (2014).
  7. Beuschlein, F. et al. Somatic mutations in ATP1A1 and ATP2B3 lead to aldosterone-producing adenomas and secondary hypertension. Nat. Genet. 45, 440444 (2013).
  8. Scholl, U. I. et al. Somatic and germline CACNA1D calcium channel mutations in aldosterone-producing adenomas and primary aldosteronism. Nat. Genet. 45,10501054 (2013).
  9. Azizan, E. A. et al. Somatic mutations in ATP1A1 and CACNA1D underlie a common subtype of adrenal hypertension. Nat. Genet. 45, 10551060 (2013).
  10. Fernandes-Rosa, F. L. et al. Genetic spectrum and clinical correlates of somatic mutations in aldosterone-producing adenoma. Hypertension 64, 354361 (2014).

New Jersey Ambulances Carrying Solu-Cortef

solu-cortefThe New Jersey Department of Health passed a waiver in October of last year that allows ambulances to carry Solu- Cortef, for the purposes of treating an adrenal crisis. As a result, New Jersey ambulances can be better prepared to treat adrenal insufficiency.

This news was brought to NADF by Karen Fountain of the CARES Foundation, who has been helping push state health directors to accept protocols to help treat adrenal insufficient patients during an emergency.

Adrenal insufficient people in New Jersey should contact their local EMS to make them aware of the waiver, and encourage them to carry Solu-Cortef in their ambulances.

The hope is that other states, and eventually the entire country and beyond, will start having their ambulances carry the needed medication to treat adrenal crisis.

http://www.nadf.us

%d bloggers like this: