Cushing’s disease history and symptoms

Jump to navigation Jump to search


Cushing's disease (also known as Cushing disease, tertiary or secondary hypercortisolism, tertiary or secondary hypercorticism, Itsenko-Cushing disease)[1][2] is a cause of Cushing's syndrome characterised by increased secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) from the anterior pituitary (secondary hypercortisolism). This is most often as a result of a pituitary adenoma (specifically pituitary basophilism) or due to excess production of hypothalamus CRH (Corticotropin releasing hormone) (tertiary hypercortisolism/hypercorticism) that stimulates the synthesis of cortisol by the adrenal glands. Pituitary adenomas are responsible for 80% of endogenous Cushing's syndrome,[3] when excluding Cushing's syndrome from exogenously administered corticosteroids.

This should not be confused with ectopic Cushing syndrome or exogenous steroid use.[4]

History and Symptoms

The symptoms of Cushing's disease are similar to those seen in other causes of Cushing's syndrome.[5] Patients with Cushing's disease usually present with one or more signs and symptoms secondary to the presence of excess cortisol or ACTH.[6] Although uncommon, some patients with Cushing's disease have large pituitary tumors (macroadenomas). In addition to the severe hormonal effects related to increase blood cortisol levels, the large tumor can compress adjacent structures.[citation needed] These tumors can compress the nerves that carry information from the eyes, causing a decrease in peripheral vision.[citation needed] Glaucoma and cataracts also may occur in Cushing's syndrome. In children, the two main symptoms are obesity and decreased linear growth.[7]

The clinical diagnosis must be based on the presence of one or more of the symptoms listed below, because the syndrome itself has no true pathognomonic signs or symptoms.[citation needed] The most common symptoms seen in male patients are purple striae, muscle atrophy, osteoporosis, and kidney stones.[7]

Common symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • weight gain
  • high blood pressure [8]
  • poor short-term memory
  • irritability
  • excess hair growth (women)[3]
  • Impaired immunological function [8]
  • red, ruddy face Template:Ns
  • extra fat around neck
  • moon face
  • fatigue
  • red stretch marks
  • poor concentration
  • irregular menstruation.[7]

Less common symptoms

The less-common symptoms include:


  1. "Whonamedit - Nikolai Mikhailovich Itsenko". "Nikolai Mikhailovich Itsenko investigated neural infections, vegetative nervous system diseases and cerebral tumors. In 1926 he was the first one who described Itsenko-Cushing's disease, six years before Cushing."
  2. A.I. Gozhenko, I.P. Gurkalova, W. Zukow, Z. Kwasnik, B. Mroczkowska (2009). "Trematoda". Pathology: Medical Student's Library. Radomska Szkola Wyžsza uk. Zubrzyckiego. p. 280. ISBN 978-83-61047-18-6.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lanzino, Giuseppe; Maartens, Niki F.; Laws, Edward R. (2002). "Cushing's case XLV: Minnie G.". Journal of Neurosurgery. 97 (1): 231–234. doi:10.3171/jns.2002.97.1.0231. PMID 12134925. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  5. "Cushing's Syndrome Information Page". Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  6. Kirk, Lawrence F., Jr; Robert B. Hash; Harold P. Katner; Tom Jones (September 2000). "Cushing's Disease: Clinical Manifestations and Diagnostic Evaluation". American Family Physician. 62: 1119; 1127. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Newell-Price, J.; Bertagna, X.; Grossman, A.B.; Nieman, L.K. (2006). "Cushing's syndrome". The Lancet. 367 (9522): 1605–1617. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61345-8. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Wilson, P.J.; Williams, J.R.; Smee, R.I. (2014). "Cushing's disease: A single centre's experience using the linear accelerator (LINAC) for stereotactic radiosurgery and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy". Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. 21 (1): 100–106. doi:10.1016/j.jocn.2013.04.007. PMID 24074805.