What Is Cushing's Syndrome?
Cushing's syndrome is all about the stress hormone cortisol. When your body makes too much of it, the excess hormone can throw off your body's other systems.
Most cases of Cushing's syndrome can be cured, though it may take some time for your symptoms to ease up.
The condition, also known as hypercortisolism, is more common in women than men. It's most often seen in people ages 25 to 40.
You can get Cushing's syndrome when there’s too much cortisol in your body for too long. Cortisol comes from your adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys.
The most common cause is related to medications called glucocorticoids, also commonly known as steroids or prednisone.
These prescription steroids are used for conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or after an organ transplant. They are powerful anti-inflammatory medications. Taking too much, for too long, can lead to Cushing's syndrome.
A tumor in your pituitary gland, found at the base of the brain, or a tumor in the adrenal glands, can also prompt your body to make too much cortisol, which can lead to Cushing’s.
It's not usually a condition that's passed in families. In some rare cases, though, people develop it because a problem in their genes makes them more likely to get tumors on their glands.