Definition of Cushing syndrome
Cushing syndrome: The constellation of symptoms and signs caused by an excess of cortisol hormone.
Cushing syndrome is an extremely complex hormonal condition that involves many areas of the body. Common symptoms are thinning of the skin, weakness, weight gain, bruising, hypertension, diabetes, thin weak bones (osteoporosis), facial puffiness and, in women, cessation of menstrual periods.
Ironically, one of the most common causes of Cushing syndrome is the administration of "cortisol-like medications" for the treatment of diverse diseases. All other cases of Cushing syndrome are due to the excess production of cortisol by the adrenal gland as, for example, due to:
The neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing (1869-1939) described excessive production of cortisol by the adrenal gland due specifically to an ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma, a benign pituitary tumor that puts out ACTH (AdrenoCorticoTropic Hormone). This drives the adrenal gland to overproduce cortisol.Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012
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