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Cushing's Syndrome & Disease

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What are Cushing’s Syndrome and Cushing’s Disease?

Cushing’s syndrome is a rare condition that is the result of too much of the hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone normally made by the adrenal glands and it is necessary for life. It allows people to respond to stressful situations such as illness, and has effects on almost all body tissues. It is produced in bursts, most in the early morning, with very few at night.

When too much cortisol is made by the body itself, it is called Cushing’s syndrome, regardless of the cause. Some patients have Cushing’s syndrome because the adrenal glands have a tumor(s) making too much cortisol. Other patients have Cushing’s syndrome because they make too much of the hormone ACTH, which causes the adrenal glands to make cortisol. When the ACTH comes from the pituitary gland it is called Cushing’s disease.

Cushing’s syndrome is fairly rare. It is more often found in women than in men and often occurs between the ages of 20 and 40.