There are many signs of Cushing's syndrome including:
- A fatty (buffalo) hump between your shoulders
- Bruising that happens easily
- Development of a mild form of diabetes
- Flushing of the face
- Impotence among men
- Increased hair growth on the face and body
- Irregular or absent monthly periods among women
- Loss of fertility
- Loss of sex drive
- Mood swings, depression and anxiety
- Muscle weakness and difficulty rising from a seated position without using the arms
- Rising blood pressure
- Rounding of the face (moon face)
- Slow healing of cuts, insect bites and infections
- Stretch marks on the skin of the stomach area, thighs, breasts and arms
- Weight gain around the trunk of the body
Causes and Risk Factors
A person can have too much cortisol in the body for two reasons:
- He or she is taking corticosteroids such as prednisone for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or other inflammatory disease.
- He or she has a tumor that has upset the signals that control cortisol production. Most cases of Cushing's syndrome are caused by pituitary adenoma . (This form is known as Cushing's disease.) Sometimes tumors outside the pituitary gland (such as lung tumors) produce ACTH that stimulates the adrenal glands. Adrenal tumors or cancer may also release too much cortisol into the body.
In rare cases, a person may inherit the tendency to develop tumors in one or more glands such as the adrenal glands or the pituitary gland.
Cushing's can affect a person of any age, but most often affects people who are middle aged.