Cushing’s disease is a rare condition that occurs due to a benign tumor on the pituitary gland. The tumor overproduces ACTH, which then leads to the excess amount of cortisol (sometimes called the stress hormone), which may cause 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 sudden weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, menstrual changes, decreased libido, depression, 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.
Who does Cushing’s disease affect?
It usually affects adults between the ages of 18 and 54, with women making up 4 times as many cases as men.
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 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 the most common form of Cushing’s syndrome. Cushing’s syndrome is actually a set of related symptoms caused by too much cortisol circulating in the body from sources other than the pituitary gland. 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).