Cushing’s Symptoms

I’ve found a great blog that has a lot of information around Cushing’s and related issues. It is run by a sufferer, not anyone medically trained but she has done so much research to understand her own illness that it is a great resource. Obviously it can’t replace true medical information but it definitely helps.

I wanted to post the symptoms here to show just how badly this can affect people and also make it just one more place that a potential Cushie can find information. I’m not going to point out which ones I have but I do have around 25 of them and from simply listing things that just “don’t feel right” in my body the past few years I could go up to around 30 symptoms. Most of the ones I experience are things that could tie in together and be ignored as every day issues such as stress (and indeed are what I’ve been writing them off as for over 2 years until the GP expressed her concern). Some may be obvious but others are invisible.
*Symptoms caused by Prolonged Exposure to Excess Cortisol*
(compiled by Moxie MelissaTX over the years (
• “old people ailments” not normally seen in patients your age, such as cataracts, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, shingles,extreme fatigue, poor memory, slow word recall, narrowing social life
• high blood sugars or hypoglycemia
• glucose intolerance or diabetes type 2
• high blood pressure
• reoccurring infections
• suppressed immune system, “always sick”
• acid reflux
• peptic ulcers and pancreatitis

• kidney stones

• high calcium (get tested for MEN-1)
• weight gain of ___ in ___ months despite careful exercise and nutrition control with food diary, yet still no weight loss
• central obesity, looking pregnant
• skin that hangs down below your belly button, called pannum
• pulmonary embolism
• exhaustion/ extreme fatigue plus insomnia; want to sleep but can’t
• extreme daytime fatigue
• extreme fatigue in afternoon, then second wind that keeps you up all night, crash at 4-6 am, sleep past 10 am
• insomnia, wired at night
• inability to fall asleep or inability to stay asleep
• if asleep at night, then waking up at 4 am for “no reason”
• night sweats, sometimes drenching clothes

• personality changes

• anxiety
• irritability
• emotional volatility
• crying
• rage
• hostile/ short fuse
• overwhelmed
• medication-resistant depression = depression that fails to respond to multiple depression medications
• won’t commit suicide but wouldn’t mind not waking up
• loss of hope, can’t see light at the end of the tunnel
• loss of interest in hobbies
• social anxiety/ limited socializing
• suicidal thoughts
• brain fog
• confusion
• sluggish brain
• delayed word recall
• poor memory
• difficulty focusing
• loss of motivation; incomplete projects
• headaches
• loss of peripheral vision
• running into door jams/ scraping arms as you pass through
• tripping and clumsiness
• blurry vision/ double vision
• eye pain
• ptosis (eye drooping)
• cataracts
• muscle wasting (difficulty holding up blow dryer, getting up from chair, climbing upstairs, standing)
• failed squat test (squat, get back up without assistance)
• heavy arms and pain in legs
• loss of balance, frequent falls
• broken bones
• osteopenia or osteoporosis (especially at a young age)• children can experience growth retardation/ stunted growth
• pain in the feet upon waking, difficulty walking; docs call this plantar fasciitis
• dropping things from the hands when you think you are grabbing on tightly
• nocturia (urinating during the night)
• polyuria (volume of urine is high)
• unexplainted excessive sweating
• temperature control issues (hot when cool out; cold when hot out)
• hirsutism (excess facial on lip, chin, body); females shave face; hair is often black and coarse
• thinning hair or hair loss in clumps
• texture of hair changes: curly hair goes straight, straight hair turns curly
• facial plethora (red cheeks look like rosacea)
• moon facies (roundness of the face); can’t see the ears of a Cushing’s patient
• buffalo hump at base of neck; hump can be hard or soft; painful when hard; sometimes difficult to turn our necks
• supraclavicular fat pads (collar bones aren’t visible)
• red/ purple stretch marks (small to very wide makes on abdomen, breasts mainly, can also affect thighs, armpits) (only 50% of patients will have this, NIH 2017)
• acanthosis nigricans (darkening of skin from insulin resistance) typically seen on dark elbows, knees, knuckles, back of neck
• bruises easily
• pitting edema (swelling) in legs, feet, ankles
• brittle nails
• thinning skin that can tear easily (i.e. bandage removal)
• skin slow to heal or injuries slow to heal
• acne
• boils (furuncles) or hidradenitis suppurativa (boils in groin, buttocks, arm pits, under breasts or fat rolls)
• skin tags
• psoriasis
• infertility
• loss of libido
• inability to orgasm
• women: irregular menstruation or lack of menses
• men: erectile dysfunction

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