My Sanford Chart allows you secure online access to your personal health information and your child's health information. It's available anywhere you have internet access. There is no cost to you and registering is quick and simple.
Cushing's syndrome is a rare problem that happens when you have too much of the hormone cortisol in your body. Cortisol is especially important in controlling blood pressure and metabolism. But it affects almost every area of your body.
Normally, your body keeps the level of cortisol in balance through a complex system that involves three glands.
If something upsets this system, your cortisol level can get too high. If it's high for too long, it can cause symptoms and can lead to serious problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and osteoporosis.
Another name for Cushing's syndrome is hypercortisolism.
The most common cause is taking corticosteroid medicines, such as prednisone, for a long time. These medicines act like cortisol in your body. They are used to treat many diseases, including lupus, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. They are also used after an organ transplant.
You can also get Cushing's syndrome because your body makes too much cortisol. This can happen if you have:
The symptoms vary and often appear slowly over time. You may have:
Cushing's syndrome can be hard to diagnose because many things can make your cortisol level higher than normal. You may need to see a doctor who specializes in hormone disorders (endocrinologist) to diagnose or treat Cushing's syndrome.
To find out if you have Cushing's syndrome, a doctor will:
A doctor can usually find out from these exams if corticosteroid medicine is causing the problem.
If you don't take corticosteroid medicine or your doctor thinks something other than medicine is causing your symptoms, you may have tests, such as:
Cushing's syndrome can lead to serious health problems, so it's important to start treatment right away. Treatment can often cure Cushing's syndrome.
If long-term use of corticosteroid medicine is the cause:
If a pituitary tumor is the cause:
If an adrenal tumor is the cause:
If a tumor of the lungs or another organ is the cause, the tumor will be removed or treated with radiation or medicines.
There are many things you can do to prevent weight gain, strengthen your muscles and bones, and avoid health problems from Cushing's syndrome.
Eat a healthy diet
Take good care of yourself
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
|Actionsets are designed to help people take an active role in managing a health condition.|
|Healthy Eating: Eating Less Sodium|
Learning about Cushing's syndrome:
Living with Cushing's syndrome:
|Cushing's Support and Research Foundation, Inc.|
|65 East India Row|
|Boston, MA 02110|
The Cushing's Support and Research Foundation offers consumer pamphlets and other information. The organization also publishes a newsletter.
|Hormone Health Network|
|8401 Connecticut Avenue|
|Chevy Chase, MD 20815-5817|
The Hormone Health Network is a nonprofit organization started by the Endocrine Society. The organization promotes the prevention, treatment, and cure of hormone-related conditions through public outreach and education.
|National Adrenal Disease Foundation|
|505 Northern Boulevard|
|Great Neck, NY 11021|
The National Adrenal Diseases Foundation is a consumer-based organization providing information and support for people with adrenal-related diseases.
|National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service|
|6 Information Way|
|Bethesda, MD 20892–3569|
The National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. This Web site offers consumer information on the cause, treatment, and effects of endocrine and metabolic diseases.
|Pituitary Network Association (PNA)|
|P.O. Box 1958|
|Thousand Oaks, CA 91358|
The Pituitary Network Association is a nonprofit organization that provides support for people who have pituitary tumors and disorders.
Other Works Consulted
- Almeida MQ, Stratakis CA (2011). Cushing’s syndrome. In ET Bope et al., eds., Conn’s Current Therapy 2011, pp. 653–659. Philadelphia: Saunders.
- Carroll TB, et al. (2011). Glucocorticoids and adrenal androgens. In DG Gardner, D Shoback, eds., Greenspan’s Basic and Clinical Endocrinology, 9th ed., pp. 285–327. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Loriaux DL (2009). Adrenal. In EG Nabel, ed., ACP Medicine, section 3, chap. 4. Hamilton, ON: BC Decker.
- Nieman L, et al. (2008). The diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome: An Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 93(5): 1526-1540.
- Stewart PM, Krone NP (2011). The adrenal cortex. In S Melmed et al., eds., Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, 12th ed., pp. 479–544. Philadelphia: Saunders.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology|
|Last Revised||February 25, 2013|
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.