Obesity is a condition where a person has much greater body weight than is healthy. A person is said to be obese when he has a BMI above 30. When there is a BMI of 40 and more, it is morbid obesity. The world statistics show that there has been an alarming rise of nearly 50% in the number of obese adults. Another disturbing trend is the increase in the number of obese adolescents. Obesity occurs due to eating too much food coupled with lack of exercise. Sedentary lifestyle coupled with poor eating habits are most often to blame for obesity. A diet that includes processed foods, trans fat and too much alcohol will make a person overweight. Other factors contributing to obesity are stress, depression, medications, illness and emotional problems. Emotional comfort eating can pile on the weight.
Medical conditions such as Cushings' Syndrome and PCOS can lead to obesity. In some cases, hypothyroidism might be the cause for weight gain. Medications like antidepressants can lead to added weight. Health problems that can arise due to obesity are heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and sleep apnea. Obesity can be tackled by checking if there is any underlying medical condition. When dealing with an obese person, thyroid test and endocrine tests are done. Embark on a weight management program after checking with your health professional or nutritionist. A healthy body weight is a combination of exercise and good nutrition. Extreme diets and fad diets only worsen the condition by leading to yo-yo weight and improper nutrition. Weight that is lost by very low calorie diets is not permanent and has disastrous consequences.
Cushing's syndrome or Cushing's disease is a hormonal disorder that typically affects adults in the age group 20 - 50 years. This disease is named after the American surgeon Harvey Cushing. Since Cushing's syndrome is characterized by high levels of cortisol in the body, it is also known as 'hypercortisolism'. Cortisol is one of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands and plays a vital role in regulating blood pressure and maintaining the functioning of the cardiovascular system. Cortisol aids the metabolization of proteins and fats and helps the body's response to stress. Adenomas in the pituitary are responsible for Cushing's syndrome. This is more likely in women. Adrenal tumors are sometimes responsible for increased levels of cortisol in the blood.
Typical symptoms of Cushings syndrome include upper body obesity and thinning limbs. Reduced growth rate is noticed among children suffering from Cushing's syndrome. the skin becomes fragile and easily prone to bruising. The patient will notice purple stretch marks around the abdomen, thighs and arms. Persons suffering from Cushing's syndrome tend to experience severe fatigue, weakness in the muscles and elevated levels of blood pressure and blood sugar. There is extra hair growth on the face, chest and abdomen. A person suffering from Cushing's syndrome may suffer from depression and anxiety. Women may notice irregular or cessation of menstrual cycle. There is decrease in libido in men and women. Excessive cortisol produces a characteristic hump of fat between the shoulders. High doses of corticosteroids taken over a prolonged period can trigger Cushing's syndrome.
If left untreated, Cushing's syndrome is usually fatal. Blood and urine tests help in identifying high cortisol levels. A urine test measures how much cortisol is being produced. It is also essential to identify the cause and location of the abnormality that releases excessive cortisol. Biochemistry tests such as dexamethasone suppression test and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) stimulation test also help in testing for Cushing's syndrome. MRI scans aid in locating tumors that may be the cause for Cushings disease. Treatment for Cushing's syndrome can range from radiation and chemotherapy to surgery to remove tumors. Use of cortisol-inhibiting drugs may also be resorted to.
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: August 1, 2021