HEALTH

Cushing's syndrome: what it is, possible causes and symptoms

Cushing's syndrome is a clinical condition caused by elevated levels of cortisol in the blood. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stimulation by the hormone ACTH, produced by the pituitary gland.

Cortisol is a key hormone for many important functions in the body including the metabolism of sugars, proteins and fats and the regulation of blood pressure and the immune system. Cortisol is also referred to as the stress hormone.

When the body produces too much of it, it is called Cushing's syndrome. Let's find out what the possible causes and symptoms are.

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What is Cushing's syndrome
Cushing's syndrome is a clinical condition caused by elevated levels of cortisol in the blood. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stimulation by the hormone ACTH, produced by the pituitary gland. Cortisol is a key hormone for many important functions in the body including the metabolism of sugars, proteins and fats and the regulation of blood pressure and the immune system. Cortisol is also referred to as the stress hormone. When the body produces too much of it, it is called Cushing's syndrome. Let's find out what the possible causes and symptoms are.
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The possible causes
One speaks of exogenous Cushing's syndrome when the situation is caused by the administration of high doses of drugs based on cortisol-like molecules (steroids or corticosteroids) for prolonged periods. Endogenous Cushing's syndrome, on the other hand, is caused by increased cortisol production by the adrenal glands.
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The most frequent form
The most frequent form is caused by benign tumours of the pituitary gland (adenomas) while more rarely it can be triggered by malignant tumours or hyperplasias. The syndrome can also occur in some rare genetic disorders such as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 and McCune-Albright syndrome.
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The most common symptoms
The most common symptoms related to Cushing's syndrome can be facial obesity, trunk obesity, skin changes, osteoporosis, muscle weakness and blood vessel fragility. Striae rubrae may also appear and a very prominent sign is the easy appearance of bruising and thromboembolic events.
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Other less specific symptoms
Other less specific symptoms of Cushing's syndrome may be high blood pressure, acne, hirsutism, fatigue, glucose intolerance, menstrual irregularities, decreased libido, neuropsychological disorders, increased susceptibility to infections.
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19/04/2024
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