Cushing's syndrome can be caused by taking glucocorticoid hormones, such as prednisone, for:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Lupus and other inflammatory diseases
- Immunosuppression after transplantation.
Other people may develop Cushing's syndrome as a result of an overproduction of cortisol by the body. Some of the common conditions that cause the body to produce too much cortisol include:
- Pituitary adenomas
- Adrenal tumors
- Ectopic ACTH syndrome
- Familial Cushing's syndrome.
(Click Cushing's Syndrome Causes for more information.)
Too much cortisol in the body for long periods of time is responsible for the classic Cushing's syndrome symptoms. Signs and symptoms may vary, based on the person's age.
Common symptoms of Cushing's syndrome can include:
- Extreme weight gain, especially around the midsection and upper back
- Excess hair growth
- Purplish-pink stretch marks on the abdomen (stomach), thighs, buttocks, arms, and breasts
- High blood pressure
- Skin problems
- Growth retardation
- Either very early or very late puberty
- Sleep disturbances
- Muscle weakness
- Menstrual disorders in women
- Moodiness, irritability, or depression
- Decreased fertility in men
- Diminished or absent desire for sex.