Cushing’s disease is a rare condition that occurs due to a benign tumor on the pituitary gland. The tumor releases an excess amount of cortisol (sometimes called the stress hormone), which may lead to a number of health issues.
What is Cushing’s disease?
What are the signs and symptoms of Cushing’s disease?
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of Cushing’s disease include weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and physical changes, such as rounding and redness of the face, growth of fat pads on the back of the neck or between the shoulder blades, and development of purple lines and stretch marks on the abdomen.
How many people does Cushing’s disease affect?
Cushing’s disease affects over 13,000 people in the United States. It usually affects adults between the ages of 20 and 50, with women making up as many as 70% of cases.
What causes Cushing’s disease?
Cushing’s disease is a condition in which excessive levels of the stress hormone cortisol are present in the blood. This happens when a type of benign or noncancerous tumor called an adenoma develops in the brain on the pituitary gland and causes it to release excess amounts of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). This, in turn, causes two small glands located on the top of the kidneys called the adrenal glands to release excessive levels of cortisol.
What is the difference between Cushing’s disease and Cushing’s syndrome?
In addition to Cushing’s disease, you may also have heard of Cushing’s syndrome. They are not the same thing. Cushing’s disease is one form of Cushing’s syndrome. Cushing’s syndrome is actually a set of related symptoms caused by too much cortisol circulating in the body. Cushing’s disease is the name used when the Cushing’s symptoms are caused by a pituitary adenoma (a kind of tumor that causes oversecretion of ACTH that leads to excess cortisol levels).