Cushing’s syndrome is a serious medical condition that’s caused by exposure of high levels of cortisol in the body for long periods of time. The syndrome can occur naturally from other diseases and medical conditions that result in the production of excess cortisol, but it often occurs from taking corticosteroid medication. Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone, and affects and controls the body’s processes in relation to metabolism and the immune system. A lot of people who have Cushing syndrome end up developing Cushing’s disease, a result of the excess hormone cortisol. Cushing’s disease is when there’s a pituitary tumor or growth that releases excess adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
Cushing’s syndrome is the result of a significant imbalance in the body and it’s important to know what to look for. Here is a look at the most common symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome…
1. Weight Gain
Rapid weight gain and obesity is one of the most common symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome, and the location of the gain is specific. The trunk of the body—the torso—is where the weight gain occurs, leaving the arms and legs alone. Cushing’s syndrome results in fat build up in areas like the abdomen, which can cause the arms and legs to stay and look thin, or even become thinner. Combined with the skin changes that some people with the syndrome experience, the weight gain and skinny limbs can be especially noticeable and cause for concern.
The excess and high levels of cortisol that the body produces causes fat to be distributed to the chest and stomach area, as well as the face and back. When the body has too much cortisol in it, there aren’t enough carbohydrates for the cortisol to function the way it should by replacing the fat and refuelling the body. Basically the cortisol can’t properly maintain the proper body weight, leaving fat to build up.