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Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome include hump between the shoulders, weight gain located centrally on the body, purple striae (stretch marks) on the skin and a rounded (moon-like) face. Patients suffer form hirsuitism or hair loss, sometimes insomnia and libido, menstrual and sterility problems. There were cases of different psychological problems, including euphoria, anxiety, depression or psychosis. Untreated Cushing’s may lead to hypertension, heart problems, osteoporosis or diabetes.

Cushing’s is treatment restore the production cortisol to normal levels and improve the symptoms.

Corticosteroids

These medications, used in high doses and in long period of time, may provoke exogenous Cushing’s syndrome. Prednisone, methylprednisolone and dexamethazone are used to treat inflammatory conditions, like lupus, asthma or rheumatoid arthritis, and also in treatments after the organ transplant. Injectable corticosteroids are helpful in joint and back pains and bursitis. Doses needed in these conditions are much higher than the usual levels of cortisole in the body and therefore might cause Cushing’s.

Corticosteroid used in asthma or for skin problems do not cause Cushing’s syndrome.

Overproduction

This type of the condition is called endogenous Cushing’s syndrome. The cortisol overproduction could develop because of the overproduction of: adrenal gland (or both glands) or ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone, which stimulate the adrenal gland).

Most likely causes of Cushing’s syndrome include:

  • A pituitary gland tumor, usually benign. The tumor excretes hormone ACTH, which activates the adrenal gland and it makes excess cortisol. This is the most common of all Cushing’s types and it’s called Cushing’s disease. Women are more likely to develop this disease and the solution is a surgical removal of the tumor. A tumor that secretes ACTH. Usually, these tumors appear in organs that don’t secret ACTH under normal circumstances, like the lungs, thyroid, thymus or pancreas. They could be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).
  • Adrenal disease: benign tumor, benign enlargement or cancerous changes. The cause of excess cortisol production can be benign tumor of the adrenal gland cortex, known as adrenal adenoma). Malignant changes of the adrenal gland cortex are rare but could also be the cause of Cushing’s syndrome.

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