Glands make and release hormones.
Hormones are chemicals that stimulate other cells or tissues into action. Because hormones are in your blood, they travel throughout your body. They can affect many organs at the same time.
You have two adrenal glands, one above each kidney. The adrenal glands Overview of the Adrenal Glands Glands make and release hormones. Hormones are chemicals that stimulate other cells or tissues into action. Because hormones are in your blood, they travel throughout your body. They can affect... read more release several different hormones that help control your blood pressure, heart rate, balance of water and salt, response to stress, and some male-type sex features.
In Cushing syndrome, you have too much of the adrenal hormone called cortisol.
Cushing syndrome is usually due to:
Your adrenal glands may make too much cortisol if you have:
A tumor in your adrenal glands that releases cortisol
Cancer elsewhere in your body (such as lung cancer Lung Cancer Lung cancer is cancer that starts in your lungs. Cancers that start growing in other organs may spread (metastasize) to the lungs. Cancers that have spread to your lungs aren't really considered... read more ) that releases a hormone that triggers the adrenals to make cortisol
Cushing disease is a little different from Cushing syndrome. In Cushing disease, an overactive pituitary gland tells your adrenals glands to make too many hormones.
Cushing disease usually happens when there is a tumor on your pituitary gland. Doctors remove the tumor with surgery or destroy it with radiation.
Large amounts of belly fat and fat at the top of your back (called a "buffalo hump")
Round, swollen face
Thin skin that bruises easily and heals slowly
Purple streaks that look like stretch marks on your chest and belly
Getting tired easily
Sometimes, extra face and body hair
In women, sometimes hair loss
Children with Cushing syndrome grow slowly and stay short.
Over time, if your Cushing syndrome is untreated, you may have:
Doctors will do:
Urine and blood tests to measure your cortisol levels at different times of the day, and sometimes before and after taking special medicine
Blood tests to measure pituitary hormones
Sometimes, CT scan Computed Tomography A CT scan uses a large machine shaped like a large donut to take x-rays from many angles. A computer then takes the x-rays and creates many detailed pictures of the inside of your body. Each... read more or MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) MRI is a test that uses a machine with a powerful magnet to make pictures of the inside of your body. A computer records changes in the magnetic field around your body. The computer then uses... read more to check for tumors in the body