Cushing syndrome is a disorder that occurs when your body is exposed to high levels of the hormone cortisol. It may also occur if you take too much cortisol or other steroid hormones.
See also: Cushing's disease (pituitary Cushing's)
Other people develop Cushing syndrome because their bodies produce too much cortisol, a hormone normally made in the adrenal gland. Causes of too much cortisol are:
Most people with Cushing syndrome will have:
Skin changes that are often seen:
Muscle and bone changes include:
Women with Cushing syndrome often have:
Men may have:
Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:
Laboratory tests that may be done to diagnose Cushing syndrome and identify the cause are:
Tests to determine the cause or complications may include:
High cholesterol, including high triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) may also be present.
Treatment depends on the cause.
Cushing syndrome caused by corticosteroid use:
Cushing syndrome caused by a pituitary tumor or tumor that releases ACTH:
Removing the tumor may lead to full recovery, but there is a chance that the condition will return.
Survival for people with ectopic tumors depends on the tumor type. Untreated, Cushing syndrome can be life-threatening.
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of Cushing syndrome.
Stewart PM. The adrenal cortex. In: Kronenberg HM, Shlomo M, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2008:chap 14.
Carroll T, Raff H, Findling JW. Late-night salivary control measurement in the diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome. Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab. 2008;4:344-350.
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