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Cushing's Syndrome

(Cushing's Disease; Hypercortisolism)

Definition

Cushing's syndrome is a hormone disorder. Cortisol, in normal doses, helps the body manage stress and infection. However, high levels over a long period of time can cause several health problems.

Causes

Cushing's syndrome is caused by extended exposure to a hormone called cortisol. Prolonged or excess exposure to cortisol may be caused by:
Pituitary and Adrenal Glands
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Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of Cushing's syndrome include:

Symptoms

Cushing's syndrome may cause:

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may be done to determine the level of cortisol and find a cause.
Tests for cortisol levels may include:
Tests to determine the cause of Cushing's syndrome may include:
Imaging tests evaluate the pituitary and adrenal glands, and other internal structures. These may include:

Treatment

Treatment of Cushing's syndrome depends on the cause. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:

Prevention

Work with your doctor to keep your use of corticosteroid drugs to a minimum.

RESOURCES

Cushing's Support and Research Foundation http://www.CSRF.net

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca

References

Arnaldi G, Angeli A, Atkinson AB, et al. Diagnosis and complications of Cushing’s syndrome: a consensus statement. J Clin Endocrinolo Metabo. 2003;88(12):5593-5602.

Cushing disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated July 31, 2015. Accessed February 17, 2016.

Cushing's syndrome. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/endocrine/cushings-syndrome/Pages/fact-sheet.aspx. Updated April 2012. Accessed February 17, 2016.

Diez JJ, Iglesias P. Pharmacological therapy of Cushing’s syndrome: drugs and indications. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2007;7(5):467-480.

Kirk LF Jr, Hash RB, Katner HP, Jones T. Cushing's disease: clinical manifestations and diagnostic evaluation. Am Fam Physician. 2000;62(5):1119-1127.

Tritos NA, Biller BM, Swearingen B. Management of Cushing disease. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2011;7(5):279-289.

Makras P, Toloumis G, Papadogias D, Kaltsas GA, Besser M. The diagnosis and differential diagnosis of endogenous Cushing’s syndrome. Hormones. 2006;5(4):231-250.

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