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Etiologies of Hypercorticolism, Case Study Example

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Case Study

Explain the basis for the obesity, the buffalo hump, the muscle wasting, and the hyperglycemia.

Because this unnamed worker has a disease that is commonly referred to as “Cushing Syndrome”, the basis for all of the above-mentioned conditions is the excessive levels of cortisol found in the body.

The cause of the obesity and the buffalo hump is a general function of  excessive cortisol.  The muscle wasting is a function of the protein catabolic effect related to an excess of cortisol.  Finally, the presence of hyperglycemia is a function of too much glucose in his blood.

Why was the ACTH so low? What etiologies of hypercorticolism were ruled out by the low ACTH?

ACTH is low because production of the chemical is prevented by elevated levels of cortisol (as shown by the cortisol test level).  Certain etiologies of hyper corticolism were ruled such as an ectoptic tumor, a hypothalamic tumor, or an anterior pituitary tumor that all could produce ACTH.

Cushing’s Syndrome in women causes masculinatization. Why?

The adrenal cortex in women produces hormones known as androgens.  If a woman has Cushing syndrome, the adrenal cortex produces massive amounts of androgens that can result in numerous effects of “masculiznization” that may include such things as hair growth on the face and body.

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