Cushing's syndrome

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Symptoms of Cushing's syndrome

The signs and symptoms that occur with Cushing’s syndrome depend on a number of factors that include the cause of the Cushing’s syndrome, the level of cortisol or ACTHand the age and sex of the patient.

They include obesity around the waist and also fat laid down across the shoulders and neck (sometimes known as a buffalo hump). In contrast arms and legs tend to be thin in relation to the rest of body. The face may be round and flushed (sometimes known as a moon face) and bruising is commonly present especially on the legs. Wounds may heal very slowly. There may be muscle weakness in the arms and legs, tiredness, ‘stretch’ marks around the stomach, hips and thighs. If ACTH levels are high there may also be pigmentation of the skin, particularly of scars and inside the mouth. There may also be psychological issues such as depression and difficulty concentrating. Other features include raised blood pressure (hypertension), too much blood sugar (diabetes) and fragile bones (osteoporosis). Women usually have menstrual irregularities. Men may suffer with impotence. In cases caused by a pituitary tumour there may also be headaches and visual disturbance.

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