Welcome to Episode 126 of the Nursing Show

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Tip of The Week- Cushing’s Syndrome

Nurses often see signs and symptoms of chronic disorders before other health care professionals.  When a nurse or nursing student is trained to recognize warning signs of a chronic problem, they can work with the patient’s health care team to provide the treatments and support needed to return that patient to their optimal health level.

Cushing’s Syndrome is a rare endocrine disorder involving chronically increased levels of cortisol, a hormone released by the adrenal cortex and one of the corticosteroids.  Cortisol is important in the regulation of insulin function, metabolizing of proteins and fats, and regulation of blood pressure.  Nurses should learn to recognize possible signs and symptoms of hypercortisolism or Cushing’s Syndrome in a patient.

Signs and symptoms may include obesity in just the torso, a round face, and neck fat. The arms and legs will appear normal.  Patients also may have thin, fragile skin and experience easy bruising and slow healing.  Their bones may also be weak and subject to stress fractures from normal daily activities.

Other common signs and symptoms include

  • severe fatigue
  • weak muscles
  • high blood pressure
  • high blood glucose
  • increased thirst and urination
  • irritability, anxiety, or depression
  • a fatty hump between the shoulders

For more information for nurses, students and their patients on Cushing’s Syndrome and other Endocrine disorders, follow up with the linked resources below.

Cushing’s Syndrome by National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service

Medline Plus Article on Cushing’s Syndrome


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Mercury in Summer - Can You Feel It? - No I Won't Let You Go

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