The Relationship Between Cushing Disease And Cushing Syndrome

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Within the human body, many functions are regulated by the endocrine glands, which secrete hormones. Abnormal levels of any of these hormones can lead to a number of disease states. One of these hormones is cortisol which is produced by the adrenal gland. Excess levels of cortisol can manifest in Cushing disease and Cushing syndrome, with a variety of symptoms, test methods and treatments.
It is important to distinguish between Cushing disease and Cushing syndrome. While both are based on high levels of cortisol circulating in the body, Cushing disease is specifically caused by a generally benign tumor of the pituitary gland which secretes excess levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), leading to overproduction of cortisol in the adrenal glands. Cushing syndrome, on the other hand, refers to the symptoms caused by elevated levels of cortisol in the body due to any cause, and is also called hypercortisolism or hyperadrenocorticism. In addition to the Cushing disease promoting pituitary tumor, a number of additional circumstances may lead to the development of Cushing Syndrome. Elevated levels of cortisol often are a result of a prolonged use of corticosteroids, which may be prescribed for the treatment of allergies, asthma, or autoimmune diseases. However, elevated cortisol levels may also occur with cancerous or benign tumors of the ACTH-producing lungs, pancreas, or thyroid stimulating an excess production of cortisol. Cushing syndrome is fairly rare, affecting 10 -15

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