Cushing's syndrome, often called hypercortisolism, is caused by high levels of cortisol or by high levels of cortisol-like medicines. The major symptoms are listed below:
- High blood pressure.
- High blood sugar.
- Suppressed immunity (and more infections).
- Insulin resistance and dysphoria that lead to carbohydrate cravings, metabolic syndrome, visceral obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
- Suppressed sex hormones and reduced libido.
- Suppressed thyroid hormones.
- Stigmata, including:
- A round, red, full face, often called a "moon" face.
- Muscle weakness and thin limbs.
- Growth of fine hair on the face, upper back, or arms.
- A lump of fat (buffalo hump) on the back of the neck.
- Stretch marks over abdomen.
Full-blown Cushing's syndrome is rare. Milder cases, called subclinical Cushing's syndrome (SCCS), are common.
In 2000 I wrote an article for a medical journal suggesting that infections could cause subclinical Cushing's syndrome. The article was entitled The Mysterious afflictions of Miss M.G., and it can be read by clicking on Miss_MG. The pictures below show the unfortunate Miss M.G.
More information on Cushing's syndrome
Table 7.1 in The Potbelly Syndrome (p. 72) shows the striking similarities between Cushing's syndrome, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Chapter 14 covers Cushing's syndrome.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health. The NIH has information about Cushing's Syndrome at:
Cushing's Support and Research Foundation, Inc.
65 East India Row 22B
Boston, Massachusetts 02110
617–723–3824 or 617–723–3674
Louise L. Pace, Founder and President
Pituitary Network Association
P.O. Box 1958
Thousand Oaks, CA 91358
Cushing's Understanding Support & Help Organization
P.O. Box 452
Florence, AL. 35631-0452