Cushing’s Syndrome is a rare endocrine disorder characterized by high levels of cortisol in the blood.
Cushing’s Syndrome is caused by chronic exposure of the body’s tissues to excess levels of cortisol – a hormone naturally produced by the adrenal gland. Pituitary adenomas, usually benign, secrete increased amounts of ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic hormone), a substance that controls the release of cortisol in that feedback loop. It typically causes an overproduction of cortisol. Tumors of the adrenal gland and ectopic ACTH producing tumors can cause similar problems with cortisol overproduction.
No prevalence information has been added yet.
Cushing’s Syndrome occurs when the body is exposed to high levels of cortisol for long periods of time.
Many people develop Cushing’s Syndrome because of glucocorticoid hormones such as prednisone for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other inflammatory diseases, or for immunosuppression after transplantation.
Some people develop Cushing’s Syndrome because of overproduction of cortisol by the body due to a pituitary adenoma which secretes excess ACTH, an adrenal adenoma which secretes excess cortisol, or an ectopic tumor which may secrete either ACTH or cortisol..
There are several symptoms that affect people with Cushing’s Syndrome. Not everyone has all the symptoms and this list is not all inclusive. The weight gain can vary by individual.
|Rapid weight gain||Rapid weight gain|
|Excess sweating||Excess sweating|
|Telangiectasia||Telangiectasia is the dilation of capillaries.|
|Severe fatigue||Severe fatigue|
|Striae||Striae are irregular areas of skin that look like bands, stripes, or lines.|
|Buffalo hump||Buffalo hump|
|High blood pressure||High blood pressure that is often hard to control even with medication|
|High blood sugars and/or insulin resistance||High blood sugars and/or insulin resistance|
|Altered diurnal rhythm||Altered diurnal rhythm|
|Secondary hypothyroidism||Secondary hypothyroidism|
|Low hormones||Low hormones such as FH, LSH, testosterone, growth hormone|
|Low vitamin D||Low vitamin D|
|Low ferritin||Low ferritin|
|Easy bruising||Easy bruising|
|Muscle, bone, and joint pain||Unexplained muscle, bone, and joint pain|
|Muscle weakness||Muscle weakness|
|Hirsutism||Hirsutism is increased facial hair/body hair|
|Loss of menstrual cycle and/or ovulation||Loss of menstrual cycle and/or ovulation|
|Loss of libido||Loss of libido|
|Loss of hair on head||Loss of hair on head|
|Difficulty when drawing blood||Difficulty when drawing blood|
Imaging: Dynamic MRI
Biochemical: Combination of two or more of the following:
1.) Multiple high tests including 24 hr urinary free cortisol (UFC)
2.) Late-night salivary and serum cortisols, other high cortisol (salivary and serum) measurements
3.) High ACTH
4.) Non-suppression on dexamethasone suppression test
5.) Multiple hormonal imbalances
There are two primary diagnostic tests for Cushing’s Syndrome, the Dexamethasone suppression test and the 24-hour urinary cortisol measurement test.
|Dexamethasone Suppression Test|
|24-Hour Urinary Measurement for Cortisol|
Pituitary: Transsphenoidal surgery to remove adenoma and/or radiation therapy
Adrenal: Unilateral or bilateral adrenalectomy
Ectopic: If source is located, removal of the tumor. If not and it is ACTH producing, a bilateral adrenalectomy to alleviate cortisol production.
We don't have any treatments yet.
Varies depending on degree and length of illness, treatment, and cure or remission.
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