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Helping someone who is living with Cushing's disease

The following questions are commonly asked by people who have Cushing's disease or by their caregivers.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
General topics
Q: What is Cushing's disease?
A: Cushing's disease is a condition in which a benign (noncancerous) pituitary tumor causes a person's level of cortisol to be too high for too long.
Q: What causes Cushing's disease?
A: Cushing's disease is caused by a benign (noncancerous) tumor on the pituitary gland, below the brain, which produces a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH travels through your blood to your adrenal glands and tells them to produce an excessive amount of a hormone called cortisol. The level of cortisol continues building up until it is too high for too long. This is called hypercortisolism and it will eventually cause the signs and symptoms of Cushing's disease.
Q: Are the tumors that cause Cushing's disease usually cancerous?
A: No. In the majority of people, the tumor is benign (noncancerous).
Q: Where is the tumor that causes Cushing's disease located?
A: A tumor in the pituitary gland, below the brain and in the center of the head, causes Cushing's disease.
Q: How does a pituitary tumor cause the level of cortisol to increase?
A: A tumor in the pituitary gland produces excess amounts of a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). This excess ACTH tells the adrenal glands to produce too much cortisol. Overproduction of cortisol is what causes Cushing's disease.
Q: What is the difference between Cushing's disease and Cushing's syndrome?
A: Cushing's syndrome is a hormonal disorder with several causes that makes a person's level of cortisol too high for too long (called hypercortisolism). Hypercortisolism leads to many different symptoms. Cushing's disease is when Cushing's syndrome is caused by a pituitary tumor that makes adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
Signs and symptoms of Cushing's disease
Complications from Cushing's disease
Diagnosing Cushing's disease

Learn the less frequently asked questions about Cushing's disease >