Cushing's syndrome

Cushing's syndrome is a collection of hormonal disorders characterised by high levels of the hormone cortisol. Another name for Cushing's syndrome is hypercortisolism.

Some people have Cushing's syndrome symptoms when they take glucocorticoid hormones to treat inflammatory conditions such as asthma, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Other causes include tumours of the pituitary and adrenal glands, and tumours in other areas of the body.

Around one in 50,000 people are affected by Cushing's syndrome, with females more susceptible to some forms than males. Without treatment, the disorder can be fatal.