10 Common Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease You Shouldn’t Ignore

Introduction: Understanding Cushing’s Disease

10 Common Symptoms of Cushing's Disease You Shouldn't Ignore


Cushing’s disease is more than just a series of symptoms; it’s a silent disruptor that slowly but surely creeps into one’s daily life. It often stems from a tumor on the pituitary gland, which leads to an overproduction of cortisol, a steroid hormone. This may seem like medical jargon, but in simpler terms, it’s the body’s response to an internal disruptor.


At its core, cortisol is a vital hormone for several functions within our body. It helps manage how our body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It also plays a role in regulating blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and controlling our sleep-wake cycles. However, like all things in life, balance is key. An overproduction of cortisol can wreak havoc on these very functions it is meant to support.

When you have an abundance of anything, it usually leads to complications. With Cushing’s disease, the excess cortisol can lead to a variety of symptoms that might seem unrelated at first. From weight gain to mood swings, the effects can be widespread and, unfortunately, often misdiagnosed or overlooked. This is because many of the symptoms can easily be mistaken for other common health issues or, worse, dismissed as mere byproducts of a hectic lifestyle.

The danger here is that when left untreated or undiagnosed, Cushing’s disease can lead to further health complications. Recognizing it is not just about identifying one symptom but looking at a combination of them and seeing them for what they truly represent – a body grappling with an internal imbalance.

Symptom 1: Rapid Weight Gain Around the Abdomen

Rapid Weight Gain Around the Abdomen

Cushing’s disease often presents itself initially through noticeable weight changes. This isn’t the type of weight gain one would associate with overeating or lack of exercise. People affected by Cushing’s disease observe a swift and significant weight gain, specifically around the abdominal area. This central obesity, unlike typical weight gain, accumulates disproportionately around the belly, making it more pronounced.

Apart from the belly, another peculiar observation is the appearance of a “moon face”. The face takes on a rounded appearance, often resulting in self-consciousness in individuals. Alongside this, there’s a buildup of fat between the shoulders. Termed the “buffalo hump”, this is not a regular fat accumulation spot for most people.

One of the underlying causes of this weight gain is the overproduction of cortisol. Cortisol, in excess, can lead to the storage of adipose tissue, particularly in these specific regions. This disproportionate weight gain can have further ramifications on the individual’s health. Apart from the physical effects, it plays a significant role in the psychological well-being of the individual, often leading to reduced self-esteem and heightened self-awareness.(1)

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