Cushing’s syndrome is a serious medical condition that’s caused by exposure to 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 it affects and controls the body’s processes in relation to metabolism and the immune system. A lot of people who have Cushing’s syndrome end up developing Cushing’s disease, as a result of the excess 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 weight gain is specific. The trunk of the body (or torso) is where the weight gain occurs, not affecting the arms or legs. Combined with the skin changes that some people with the syndrome experience, the weight gain and skinny limbs can be especially noticeable and a cause for concern.
The high levels of cortisol that the body produces causes fat to be distributed to the chest and abdominal area, as well as the face and back. When the body has too much cortisol, there aren’t enough carbohydrates for the cortisol to function the way it should by replacing fat and refueling the body. Basically, the cortisol can’t properly maintain the ideal body weight, leaving fat to build up.