Do you have a child that looks like John? Does your child have a moon face with red cheeks? Is your child putting on weight no matter what you do? If you think your child has a weight problem and your doctor tells you there is nothing to worry about, have your child’s Cortisol levels checked.
They tell you that your child has Cushing’s Syndrome but you don’t know what that is. Cushing’s is the overproduction of Cortisol in the body. This can be brought on by an extended use of some drugs such as predisone, which is used for asthma or arthritis.
A tumor in the pituitary gland, on the adrenal glands, or a tumor in the lungs or some other organ can cause the overproduction of Cortisol in the body. Doctors don’t normally check infants or children for Cushing’s because they say it is so rare.
Cushing’s does not affect everyone the same way. You can see changes in weight gain, bruising, the moon face, a buffalo hump on the upper back. There is thinning of the limbs due to muscle weakness.
Other symptoms of Cushing’s are sleep disorders, bone fractures, poor healing of wounds, menstrual problems, facial hair growth, depression, and cognitive difficulties occur as well. There are also purple stretch marks that become noticeable.
If you think your child has Cushing’s make an appointment with an Endocrinologist. They can have simple laboratory test done to check the Cortisol levels. This is done by a 24 hr. clean urine collection or by a salivary cortisol test.
It is time that we as parents ask doctors not to just push it off as baby fat, lack of exercise, or a poor diet. It is time that doctors consider that an infant or a child has Cushing’s. When I particpated in the American Academy of Pediatrics in Atlanta in October 2006, 90% of the Pediatricians said they would never have checked an infant or a child for Cushing’s. The reason this disease is considered rare is because they don’t check for it. Doctors misdiagnose Cushing’s for a long time and sometimes by then it is too late. Children who have been misdiagnosed for a long time and then have the surgery sometimes don’t live. Cushing’s, if left untreated can be fatal.
If you need more information concerning your child please contact me. I am here to educate, to support, and to lend a helping hand. I have a son who was diagnosed with Cushing’s when he was 5 1/2 years old. After his surgery I have made it a point to never let another family go through this alone as our family did or never to stand by and let another child die because of a misdiagnosis.
Donna Sellers, President