Cushing's syndrome is a disorder caused by excessive amounts of the
hormone cortisol in the blood. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands,
which are located just above the kidneys.
Cushing's syndrome can be caused by:
Long-term use of medication resembling cortisol
A tumor on the pituitary gland in the brain.
(The noncancerous tumor causes the pituitary gland to produce too much of the
hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone, or ACTH, which in turn causes the
adrenal glands to produce too much cortisol. This condition is called Cushing's
A tumor of the adrenal gland.
Some types of
cancer that produce ACTH.
Cushing's syndrome can cause a round, reddish face; pads of fat on
the chest and upper back; diabetes; high blood pressure; tendency to bruise
easily; fatigue; high blood sugar levels; and emotional changes.
Depending on the cause, Cushing's syndrome is treated with
medications, surgery, radiation, or a combination of these.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.