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How Cushing's disease signs and symptoms may affect your body

Cushing's disease is caused by a pituitary corticotroph adenoma (usually a microadenoma) that secretes excessive levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). In response, the adrenal glands continually release cortisol, resulting in hypercortisolism and its characteristic clinical features. The clinical features of hypercortisolism are variable, with no single pattern seen in all patients.

Cushing's disease can affect everyone differently. Not only do people experience different symptoms, but the severity of symptoms can also vary. Some of the physical symptoms of Cushing's disease are easier to notice than others. Most of these symptoms happen when you have too much cortisol (called hypercortisolism) in your body for too long, and may improve or disappear when your level of cortisol is lowered to normal. Many people who have Cushing's disease don't notice their symptoms right away because they happen slowly over time.

Tell your doctor about any symptoms you experience and ask if Cushing's syndrome or Cushing's disease could be the cause. If you don't ask, your doctor may not think to look for Cushing's because the signs and symptoms can be caused by other health conditions that are more common. By understanding how Cushing's disease can affect your body, you may be better prepared to discuss and help diagnose your disease with your doctor.

Clinical manifestations of Cushing's disease

Symptoms of Cushing's disease

Learn about the long-term effects of Cushing's disease >