What Are Symptoms of Cushing Syndrome?


Quick Answer

Weight gain, fatigue, muscle weakness, acne and thin, fragile skin are symptoms of Cushing syndrome, according to Mayo Clinic. Individuals often suffer from ongoing skin issues, including purple or pink stretch marks on the limbs, abdomen and breasts. They also develop low resistance to bruising, cuts and infections.

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People with Cushing syndrome typically experience a common pattern of weight gain as irregular fatty deposits form on areas such as the upper back and midsection, Mayo Clinic states. Facial fatty deposits lead to a rounded face profile known as “moon face,” while deposits on the shoulders are described as “buffalo humps.” In women, the condition may trigger menstrual fluctuations or irregular growth of body hair. Men are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction and changes in fertility or libido.

The diversity of the symptoms depends on the patient, so doctors may have difficulty distinguishing Cushing syndrome from other diseases, notes Johns Hopkins Medicine. Some individuals struggle with high blood pressure, high blood sugar or anxiety, while others develop bone loss or thin limbs. Cushing syndrome occurs when the adrenal glands produce an excess amount of corticosteroids. Research suggests the condition is triggered when the pituitary gland overproduces the hormone corticotropin, stimulating irregular activity in the adrenal glands. Corticotropins may also build up in the body when an individual has lung cancer.

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