Symptoms and Signs of Is Cushing's Syndrome Serious?

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Is Cushing's Syndrome Serious?

Cushing syndrome (also termed Cushing’s syndrome) is a disorder of over-administration or overproduction of corticosteroids. Signs and symptoms include unusual weight gain in the face, upper back, neck and upper torso and skin changes like thinning, purple stretch marks and easy bruising. Proximal muscle weakness (for example, difficulty climbing stairs), new onset of hypertension and/or diabetes and other symptoms like depression, cognitive and emotional dysfunction may occur. Also, reduced bone mass, impaired wound healing, irregular periods and increased hair production in women and decreased libido, infertility and impotence in men can develop; other changes that can occur may depend on the source and rapidity of the corticosteroid excess. For example, if the pituitary gland is overproducing, headaches, polyuria, nocturia, visual problems and galactorrhea (in non-pregnant women) may occur while virilization in women and feminization in men may occur with rapid corticosteroid excess happens with an adrenal cancer.

The causes of Cushing syndrome all are due to excess of corticosteroids. The main causes of excess corticosteroids are exogenous administration of them to treat other health problems and endogenous where the body’s abnormal tissues (for example, adrenal gland tumors, Pituitary tumors and some lung tumors) make excess amounts of corticosteroids.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.