The signs and symptoms of Cushing's syndrome vary from person to person making Cushing's a really hard disease to diagnose.
Common signs and symptoms
- Progressive obesity and skin changes
- Weight gain and fatty tissue deposits, particularly around the midsection and upper back, in the face (moon face) and between the shoulders (buffalo hump). Some symptoms such as sudden weight gain, are caused by excess cortisol. The excess cortisol in the body does not increase protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It slows or nearly disables metabolism function, which can cause weight gain (fat accumulation) in the buttocks, abdomen, cheeks, neck, or upper back.
- Loss of muscle mass. Some areas of the body, such as the arms and legs, will remain thin.
- Pink or purple stretch marks (striae) on the skin of the abdomen, thighs, breasts and arms
- Thinning, fragile skin that bruises easily
- Slow healing of cuts, insect bites and infections
Women with Cushing's syndrome may experience:
- Thicker or more visible body and facial hair (hirsutism)
- Irregular or absent menstrual periods
Men with Cushing's syndrome may experience:
- Decreased libido
- Decreased fertility
- Erectile dysfunction
Other signs and symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness
- Depression, anxiety and irritability
- Loss of emotional control
- Cognitive difficulties
- New or worsened high blood pressure
- Glucose intolerance that may lead to diabetes
- Bone loss, leading to fractures over time
- Hyperlipidemia (elevated lipids - cholesterol - in the blood stream)
- Recurrent opportunistic or bacterial infections
When to see a doctor
If you're taking corticosteroid medications to treat a condition, such as asthma, arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease, and experience signs and symptoms that may indicate Cushing's syndrome, see your doctor for an evaluation. Even if you're not using these drugs and you have symptoms that suggest the possible presence of Cushing's syndrome, contact your doctor.
For More Help
Each of these symptoms is discussed on the message boards at http://cushings.invisionzone.com/index.php
Please tell us about YOUR symptoms!