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

Since Cushing's disease is a form of Cushing's syndrome, many of the signs and symptoms of Cushing's disease are the same as those for Cushing's syndrome. In order to determine whether you have Cushing's disease, your doctor will follow a diagnostic process that is explained in more detail in the How Cushing's disease is diagnosed section of

Cushing's disease can affect everyone differently. Not only do people experience different symptoms, but the severity of symptoms can also vary. 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. Some of the physical symptoms of Cushing's disease are easier to notice than others. Most of these symptoms occur 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 gradually.

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 it is rare and its symptoms resemble those of other conditions.

Signs/symptoms that change how your body looks
Symptom Description
Purple or pink striae Streaking or stretch marks appear on your abdomen, thighs, buttocks, arms, and breasts.
Uncontrollable weight gain You quickly gain weight for no apparent reason (your diet and exercise habits didn't change).
Irregular weight gain/fat distribution You tend to gain weight in specific areas of your body, especially your abdomen and neck.
Buffalo hump Unusual buildup of fatty tissue between the shoulder blades that creates a hump.
Acne/facial redness (purpura) More frequent appearance of pimples, blemishes, or redness on your face.
Hair growth (called hirsutism) If you are a woman, excessive hair grows on your face and/or body.
Moon face Your face becomes rounded, especially around the jaw area.
Signs/symptoms that change how your body feels or functions
Signs/symptoms that are found with medical tests

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