Cushing's syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms due to prolonged exposure to glucocorticoids such as cortisol. Signs and symptoms may include high blood pressure, abdominal obesity but with thin arms and legs, reddish stretch marks, a round red face, a fat lump between the shoulders, weak muscles, weak bones, acne, and fragile skin that heals poorly. Women may have more hair and irregular menstruation. Occasionally there may be changes in mood, headaches, and a chronic feeling of tiredness.
Cushing's syndrome is caused by either excessive cortisol-like medication such as prednisone or a tumor that either produces or results in the production of excessive cortisol by the adrenal glands. Cases due to a pituitary adenoma are known as Cushing's disease. It is the second most common cause of Cushing's syndrome after medication. A number of other tumors may also cause Cushing's. Some of these are associated with inherited disorders such as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 and Carney complex.Diagnosis requires a number of steps. The first step is to check the medications a person takes.