Cushing's syndrome is a hormone disorder which is developed due to a prolonged exposure of high levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is produced in the adrenal gland and its’ over production is known as hypercortisolism. It can be detected in a number of ways and popular symptoms include; weight gain, hypertension, polyuria, lethargy, hair loss and easy bruising.
The reason for the rise in cortisol levels are usually due to two scenarios; one being the development of a tumour in the pituitary gland known as an adenoma, this being a non cancerous tumour causing an increase secretion of ACTH (adrenocorticotropin hormone). The ACTH in turn interacts downstream with the adrenal gland causing excess cortisol secretion. The second prominent cause of Cushing’s syndrome is due to long term exposure of glucocorticoids. These are steroidal drugs which have a desirable anti-inflammatory/ immuno-suppressive effect. This can aid people suffering from either asthma, to widen their airways or post organ transplantation to reduce the immune response in rejection of the new organ received.