Recognizing Cushing's Syndrome

Cushing's Syndrome is a spectrum of progressive symptoms that may be slight or even non existent at first, but become more apparent as time progresses. Many endocrinologists are taught that this is a rare condition, and as such, may not be fully versed in recognizing it readily, and certainly, other generalist or specialists are even less likely to recognize it as well, and it can therefor go untreated for many years. If left untreated, it can become fatal.


Cushing's Syndrome is thought to be rare by most experts, but actual quantitative data on prevalence, particularly segregating Cushing's Disease, exogenous Cushing's Syndrome, and pseudo Cushing's is extremely hard to come by. To those that have it and families that have to face it, it is very easy with today's technology to find large groups of people that suffer from these conditions, and most doctors learned about this condition before that access was widespread so there exists a challenge of perception. One of the leading diagnosticians of all forms of Cushing's and other related hormone irregularities is Dr. Theodore Friedman M.D., Ph.D. and further more detailed discussion is available on his website:


The constellation of visible Cushing's Syndrome Symptoms includes:

  • central obesity with thin arms and legs
  • predominantly affecting females
  • full round face (moon face)
  • reddish face (plethoric)
  • facial hair (hirsuitism)
  • thinning hair (allopecia)
  • thin skin
  • easy bruising
  • almost always too warm
  • buffalo hump below the neck & between the shoulders (supraclavicular fat deposits)
  • acne
  • thick stretch marks over much of the body (striae)
  • a mottled vascular pattern (livedo reticularis/racemosa)
  • fungal infections 

Comorbid medical conditions

  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporois
  • Glaucoma
  • autoimmune conditions
  • dementia
  • volumetrically shrunken hippocampus


Behavioral characteristics:

  • emotional instability
  • psychopathic personality shift
    • narcissistic defense mechanisms
      • denial
      • lying
      • minimzation
      • deflection
      • psychological projection
      • gaslighting
    • lack of the ability to love or have empathy
    • lack of emotional intimacy
    • children viewed as extensions of themselves
    • superficially charming
    • a mask of normalcy
    • inability to accept responsibility for their actions
    • always seeking control
    • manipulative
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • psychosis
  • paranoia
  • cognitive impairment
  • hypomania
  • memory deficits
  • attention deficits

Other characteristics:

  • sleep disorders
  • respiratory issues
  • sleep apnea
  • gasteric issues