Encyclopedia Home / C / Cushing syndrome

Cushing syndrome

  • Definition

    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)


    Alternative Names

    Hypercortisolism


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Cushing syndrome may be caused by taking too much corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone and prednisolone. These drugs are used to treat conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

    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:

    • Cushing's disease, when the pituitary gland makes too much of the hormone ACTH. ACTH then signals the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Tumor of the pituitary gland may cause this condition.
    • Tumor of the adrenal gland
    • Tumor elsewhere in the body that produces cortisol
    • Tumors elsewhere in the body that produce ACTH (such as the pancreas, lung, and thyroid)