Cushing's syndrome is a hormonal disorder that results from high cortisol levels in the blood and is associated with various changes in the body, including the development of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and osteoporosis. In addition, the prolonged use or abuse (especially by women for cosmetic reasons) of oral or topical corticosteroids such as prednisolone, dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, or cortisone, or preparations containing any of these drugs, is also a cause.
Cortisol comes from your adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, and helps your body in:
An increase in cortisol levels can also be seen in other conditions such as:
There are two types of Cushing’s syndrome:
The following signs and symptoms characterize Cushing’s syndrome:
Risk factors for Cushing's syndrome are
Your healthcare provider will usually perform a physical examination to look for signs of Cushing's syndrome. Other tests include:
Complications can include:
Your doctor will first determine why you have too much cortisol in your system. This will lead to a treatment plan for your disease. Suppose you're producing too much cortisol as a result of steroid medications. In that case, your doctor will check if you can gradually reduce your dosage while still managing your asthma, arthritis, or other diseases. You may require surgery to remove a tumor, and if a tumor can't be removed entirely, you may require radiotherapy and surgery. In some situations, radiotherapy can even be utilized instead of surgery.When surgery and radiation don't work, cortisol-controlling medications may be an alternative. These drugs have the potential to cause significant side effects. In people with Cushing's syndrome who are very sick, a doctor may prescribe medications before surgery. Other hormones generated by the pituitary or adrenal gland may be affected by the tumor or its treatment, and you may need hormone replacement medication.
Tumor removal may lead to full recovery, but there is a chance of recurrence. Survival for people with ectopic tumors depends upon the overall outcome of the particular tumor type. Untreated, Cushing's syndrome can be life-threatening.
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on May 06, 2023.