What are symptoms of Cushing's syndrome?The symptoms of Cushing's syndrome are due to the effect of excess cortisol on the body, which is best described as an accelerated aging of the body. Weight gain and obesity are the most common symptoms. Because the high cortisol levels affect almost all body systems, symptoms are diverse and may vary between people. They include weakness, changes in
the skin (such as bruising and acne), changes in mood (such as irritability, anxiety, and sadness), backaches, loss of muscle tone, menstrual irregularity, and abnormal hair growth (hirsutism).
The signs and symptoms of Cushing's syndrome vary and most often develop gradually. A person with Cushing's syndrome may have:
Weight gain. Symptoms may include rounded or puffy facial features (moon face), increased fat around the neck and upper part of the back (buffalo hump), or an enlarged waistline. Weight gain is the most frequent symptom of Cushing's syndrome.
Skin changes. These changes include thin, fragile skin that bruises easily; slow-healing wounds; wide, purplish stretch marks on the body (striae); acne; or a ruddy complexion.
Changes in mental state. Irritability, anxiety, inability to sleep (insomnia), or feelings of sadness or depression may develop.
Muscle and bone weakness. Symptoms may include backache; broken bones, especially the ribs and spine (caused by osteoporosis); or loss of muscle tone and strength. Weakness of the muscles in the arms and legs may make it difficult to rise from a chair or climb stairs.
Sex hormone changes. Menstrual irregularity, facial hair growth in women, erectile dysfunction, or loss of sex drive may occur.
High blood pressure and diabetes. High blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes may not be diagnosed until the person has a medical checkup.