CUSHING’S SYNDROME
C
Cushing’s syndrome
A hormonal
disorder
caused by an
abnormally high level of
corticosteroid
hormones
in the blood. Cushing’s syn-
drome is characterized by a reddened,
moon-shaped
face,
wasting
of
the
limbs, thickening of the trunk, and a
humped upper back. Other symptoms
include
acne
; stretch marks on the skin;
bruising;
osteoporosis
(loss
of bone
density); susceptibility to infection and
peptic ulcers
;
and, in women, increased
hairiness.
Mental
changes
frequently
also occur, causing
depression
,
insomnia
,
paranoia
,
or,
euphoria
.
Oedema, hyperten-
sion
,
and
diabetes mellitus
may develop.
In children, growth may be suppressed.
The
excess
of hormones is most
commonly due to prolonged treatment
w ith
corticosteroid drugs
.
Such cases of
Cushing’s syndrome are usually mild.
In other cases, high hormone levels are
due to overactivity of the
adrenal glands
because of an
adrenal tumour
,
or due to
a
pituitary tumour
affecting production
of
ACTH
(adrenocortocotrophic
hor-
mone), w hich in turn stimulates the
adrenal glands.
Cushing’s syndrome due to cortico-
steroid drugs usually disappears when
the
dose
of the
drug
is
gradually
reduced.
In
cases
of Cushing’s syn-
drome that are caused by an adrenal
gland
tumour,
the
tumour
w ill
be
removed surgically. If the cause of the
disease is a pituitary tumour, it may be
removed surgically or shrunk by irradi-
ation and drug treatment. In both of
these cases, surgery is followed by
hor-
mone replacement therapy
.
cushion
Any soft body structure resembling a
pad or cushion, such as a
bursa
.
cusp
A tapering point, such as on a tooth.
The term also refers to the flaps of the
heart valves
.
cusp, dental
One of the protrusions found on the
grinding surface of a
tooth
.
cutaneous
Relating to the skin.
cutaneous anthrax
See
anthrax
.
cutaneous horn
See
horn, cutaneous
.
cutdown
Creation of a small skin incision in
order to gain access to a
vein
,
to take
blood or to give intravenous fluid. This
procedure is sometimes needed when a
vein cannot be identified through the
skin, in conditions such as
shock
.
cuticle
The outermost layer of skin. The term
commonly refers to the thin flap of
skin at the base of a nail, and also to the
outer layer of a hair shaft.
CVA
The
abbreviation
for
cerebrovascular
accident.
CVP
The abbreviation for
central venous pres-
sure
(the
pressure
w ithin the
right
atrium of the heart).
CVS
The abbreviation for
chorionic villus sam-
pling
,
and for
cardiovascular system.
cyanide
Any of a group of salts of hydrocyanic
acid. Most of these substances are ex-
tremely poisonous, and their inhalation
or ingestion can rapidly lead to breath-
lessness
and
paralysis
,
followed
by
unconsciousness
and
death.
Certain
cyanides are eye irritants and are used
in tear gases.
cyanocobalamin
An alternative name for
vitamin B12.
cyanosis
A bluish coloration
of the skin
or
mucous
membranes
caused
by
an
abnormally high level of deoxygenated
haemoglobin
in
the
blood.
Cyanosis
confined to the hands and feet is not
serious; it is usually due to slow blood
flow, often as a result of exposure to
cold. A blue tinge to the lips and
tongue, however, could be caused by a
serious heart or lung disorder such as
chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease
or
heart failure
.
cyclopenthiazide
A
thiazide diuretic
drug used to reduce
oedema
associated
with
heart failure
,
kidney disorders,
cirrhosis
of the liver,
and to treat
hypertension
.
Side effects of
this
drug
include
lethargy,
loss
of
appetite, leg cramps, dizziness, rash,
and impotence.
cyclophosphamide
An
anticancer drug
used in the treatment
of
Hodgkin’s disease
and
leukaemia
.
It is
also used as an
immunosuppressant
and
to treat connective tissue diseases.
cycloplegia
Paralysis
of the ciliary muscle of the eye,
w hich makes
accommodation
difficult. In
some circumstances, cycloplegia may be
induced by cycloplegic drugs to facili-
tate eye examinations.
cyclosporin
An alternative spelling for
ciclosporin.
cyclothymia
A personality characteristic typified by
marked changes of mood from cheer-
ful, energetic, and sociable to gloomy,
listless, and withdrawn. Mood swings
may last for days or months and may
follow a regular pattern.
Cymalon
A brand name for an over-the-counter
preparation containing sodium bicarb-
onate, sodium carbonate, citric acid,
and sodium citrate. This preparation is
commonly used to relieve the symp-
toms of
cystitis
.
cyproterone acetate
A drug that blocks the action of
andro-
gen hormones
.
It is used to treat prostate
cancer (see
prostate, cancer of
)
and oc-
casionally to reduce male sex drive.
Side effects include weight gain and an
increased risk of blood clots.
cyst
An abnormal but usually harmless lump
or swelling filled w ith fluid or semi-
solid material.
Cysts
occur
in body
organs
or
tissues. There
are various
types, including
sebaceous cysts, dermoid
cysts, ovarian cysts, breast cysts, Baker’s
cysts,
and cysts that form around para-
sites in diseases such as hydatid disease
or amoebiasis. Cysts may need to be
removed surgically if they disrupt the
function of body tissues.
cyst-/cysto-
Relating to the
bladder
,
as in
cystitis
(inflammation of the bladder).
cystectomy
The surgical removal of part or all of
the
bladder
.
The procedure is used for
treating
bladder
cancer
(see
bladder
tumours
) .
Radical cystectomy (in w hich
208
previous page 207 BMA A Z Family Medical Encyclopedia   2004 read online next page 209 BMA A Z Family Medical Encyclopedia   2004 read online Home Toggle text on/off