How a Phone App Helped Me Finally Get Diagnosed

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by Kat Rees |

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Have you ever thought that your phone could play a vital role in your journey to a medical diagnosis? There’s so much information to be utilized from such a small device, including its internet capability, its camera, and the apps. Surprisingly, an app helped me significantly in my Cushing’s journey.

Coincidentally, because of my illness, I was using a weight-loss app called MyFitnessPal.

The most “normal” symptom of Cushing’s that some people without chronic disease also deal with is weight loss or weight gain. When I started gaining weight to a degree that it bothered me, I decided to count my calories and exercise throughout the day.

On this app, you can find the food you’ve eaten and create a diary. I had been eating roughly 1,200 calories a day and exercising three days a week. Time passed, and instead of losing weight, I actually gained more! My mom and I were really confused, so we decided that I should see a nutritionist.

The nutritionist helped me identify healthy foods and exercises, and we tracked my intake with this app and a written diary that I shared with her. I continued to lower my calorie count and exercise more intensely, yet I still gained weight. At that point, my friends and family started to wonder if I was bingeing food at night, or if I wasn’t exercising like I said I was. Luckily, I had my tracker as evidence of all the hard work I had put in.

After seeing her for about four months, I started to develop more symptoms. That is when I went to a neurologist, who referred me to an endocrinologist, as I mentioned in a previous column. I showed my endocrinologist my food diary, how much I was working out, and my physical symptoms, and all of this helped me reach a diagnosis of Cushing’s disease.

We were baffled by how strictly I had dieted and how much I had worked out, yet hadn’t previously been diagnosed. Most doctors I spoke with before that thought the symptoms might be due to depression, anxiety, and stress. They didn’t know at the time that my body was producing 10 times the amount of the hormone cortisol that a healthy person would produce.

The fitness app helped me so much by documenting how little control I really had over my weight gain.

Kat in college. (Courtesy of Kat Rees)

Has some type of unexpected tool or event helped you progress toward a Cushing’s diagnosis? Please share in the comments below. 


Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.


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