What is Cushing’s syndrome?
Cushing’s syndrome is an uncommon condition that is characterised by an excess of the hormone cortisol in the body.
What causes Cushing’s syndrome?
Cushing’s syndrome can be caused by the prolonged use of steroid medications as they contain a synthetic form of cortisol.
In other cases, it can be caused by the body itself producing too much cortisol. This can be the result of a tumour in the pituitary gland which is located in the brain or a tumour in one of the adrenal glands which are located above the kidneys. These tumours are usually benign, meaning they are non-cancerous, and mainly affect young women.
What are the symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome?
The main symptom of Cushing’s syndrome is weight gain and increased body fat.
This may include:
- Increased fat on the chest and stomach but slim arms and legs.
- A build-up of fat on the back of the neck and shoulders.
- A red, puffy and rounded face.
Other symptoms may include:
- Easily bruised skin
- Large purple stretch marks
- Upper arm and thigh weakness
- A reduced sex drive
- Fertility problems
- Mood swings