Cushing’s Syndrome and Disease are both caused by excess cortisol in the bloodstream. One of the reasons Cushing’s is so hard to diagnose is because the symptoms are relatively non-specific. Listed below are some of the more common symptoms.
Weight Gain This is one of the most common symptoms of Cushing’s. Most people with this disease will rapidly gain excess weight, especially around the stomach, chest, and face . Interestingly, there is little to no weight gain around the arms and the legs. Excess weight is linked to cardiovascular diseases.
Moon Face As written above, many people gain weight around the face, leading to a rounded or “moon-like” face. It is also common for Cushing’s patients to have very red cheeks.
High Blood Sugar and Glucose Intolerance Both of these symptoms, if left untreated, can lead to Type II Diabetes.
High Blood Pressure Increases risk of Heart Disease and Stroke
Muscle and Bone Weakness Untreated Cushing’s can result in atrophied muscles and bone fractures. Additional symptoms include mental fogginess, anxiety, and depression.
There are three main causes of Cushing’s. If excess cortisol is caused by either external steroid use (for allergies, asthma, etc.) or a cortisol-producing adrenal Tumor, then the disorder is known as Cushing’s Syndrome. If excess cortisol is produced by an ACTH-producing pituitary tumor, then the disorder is known as Cushing’s Disease. There are multiple ways to diagnose and treat Cushing’s Syndrome and Cushing’s Disease, but we will cover that next time.