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Cushing Syndrome

It is possible that the main title of the report Cushing Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • hypercortisolism

Disorder Subdivisions

  • endogenous Cushing syndrome
  • exogenous Cushing syndrome

General Discussion

Cushing syndrome is a rare endocrine disorder characterized by a variety of symptoms and physical abnormalities that occur due to excessive amounts of the hormone cortisol, a type of glucocorticoid. Glucocorticoids are a class of steroid hormones that are important in the regulation of the metabolism of glucose and also modulate the response to stress. Cushing syndrome most commonly affects adults between the ages of 25 to 40. It can be caused by prolonged exposure to elevated levels of glucocorticoids produced within the body (endogenous) or introduced from outside the body (exogenous). Symptoms can include upper body obesity, a rounded face, thin purple streaks (purple striae) which occur on the skin, increased fat around the neck, and slender arms and legs. Children with Cushing syndrome are typically obese with slowed growth rates.

In 1912, Harvey Cushing described a patient with hypercorticism but assumed it to be a polyglandular disorder. The cause was disputed for almost 40 years. Cushing disease, which is pituitary adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) dependent Cushing syndrome, was first described by Dr. Cushing in 1932. Though pituitary surgery was introduced in the early 20th century, it was not until 1933 that neurosurgery was performed on the first patient with Cushing disease.


National Adrenal Diseases Foundation
505 Northern Bloulevard
Great Neck, NY 11021
Tel: (516)487-4992
Fax: (516)829-5710

Cushing's Support and Research Foundation, Inc.
60 Robbins Rd
Plymouth, MA 02360
Tel: (617)723-3674
Fax: (617)723-3674

NIH/National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases
Office of Communications & Public Liaison
Bldg 31, Rm 9A06
31 Center Drive, MSC 2560
Bethesda, MD 20892-2560
Tel: (301)496-3583

NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
31 Center Dr
Building 31, Room 2A32
Bethesda, MD 20892
Fax: (866)760-5947
Tel: (800)370-2943
TDD: (888)320-6942

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

Autoimmune Information Network, Inc.
PO Box 4121
Brick, NJ 08723
Fax: (732)543-7285

European Society for Immunodeficiencies
1-3 rue de Chantepoulet
Geneva, CH 1211
Tel: 410229080484
Fax: 41229069140

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 10/16/2012
Copyright 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2007, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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