What is Cushing’s syndrome?

Cushing’s syndrome is caused by abnormally high levels of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is commonly known as the “stress hormone” and is secreted by the adrenal glands, two small glands that lie on top of the kidneys. Cortisol plays an important role in a variety of processes and functions in the body including:

  • Blood pressure regulation

  • Heart and blood vessel function

  • Proper metabolism and use of insulin, a hormone required to break down sugars for energy

  • Stress and anxiety response

Cushing's Syndrome Spotlight

High levels of cortisol can impair the function of hormones in the body, which results in a variety of symptoms including a moon-faced appearance, upper body obesity, and fatigue. Cushing’s syndrome is treatable and even curable in many cases.

Complications of untreated Cushing’s syndrome can be serious and include hypertension, osteoporosis and diabetes. Seek prompt medical care if you have symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome, such as weight gain in the upper body, fatigue, and the development of unusual roundness of the face.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome?

At the onset of Cushing’s syndrome, symptoms can be mild and develop slowly. They can also vary among individuals. Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome can include:... Read more about cushing's syndromesymptoms

CAUSES

What causes Cushing’s syndrome?

Cushing’s syndrome is most commonly caused by long-term use of synthetic corticosteroid drugs. Corticosteroids are hormones that are frequently used to treat inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and lupus.... Read more about cushing's syndromecauses

TREATMENTS

How is Cushing’s syndrome treated?

Cushing’s syndrome is treated by maintaining normal cortisol levels in the body. Treatment of Cushing’s syndrome varies depending on the underlying cause.... Read more about cushing's syndrometreatments

Medical Reviewer: Williiams, Robert, MD Last Annual Review Date: Jun 4, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Diabetes and the Endocrine System


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