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Cushing Syndrome (cont.)

Cushing's Syndrome Symptoms

Patient Comments
  • Weight gain, especially in the face, neck region, upper back, and torso (see Images 1-2)
  • Changes in skin, including purple stretch marks, easy bruising, and other signs of skin thinning
  • Proximal muscle weakness causing difficulty in climbing stairs, getting out of a low chair, and raising arms
  • Psychological problems such as depression, cognitive dysfunction, and emotional lability
  • New onset or worsening of high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus
  • Polyuria or polydipsia (increased thirst) from diabetes mellitus or diabetes insipidus
  • Reduced bone mass and fractures caused by weakened bones (steroid-induced osteoporosis)
  • Impaired wound healing or predisposition to infections because of impaired immune function
  • Irregular menses, amenorrhea, and hirsutism (overabundance of hair) in women
  • Decreased libido, infertility, and impotence in men
  • Persons with ACTH-producing pituitary tumor (Cushing's disease) may develop headaches, polyuria (increased frequency of urination) and nocturia (increased voiding of urine at night), visual problems, or galactorrhea (breasts produce milk in a woman who is not pregnant or breastfeeding an infant).
  • If sufficient pressure from the tumor is present on the anterior pituitary (front part of the pituitary), hyposomatotropism (decreased production of growth hormone), hypothyroidism (decreased production of thyroid hormone), and hypogonadism (defective development of reproductive organs) may develop.
  • When rapid onset of corticosteroid excess occurs, virilization in women or feminization in men may be seen. This suggests adrenal carcinoma as the underlying cause of Cushing's syndrome.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2014
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Cushing Syndrome »

Cushing syndrome is caused by prolonged exposure to elevated levels of either endogenous glucocorticoids or exogenous glucocorticoids.

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