The classic symptoms of Cushing’s disease are a rounded face (often called a “moon face”) and fatty deposits that cause upper-body obesity or a hump between the shoulders. Other symptoms and consequences may include:
Many of these symptoms are highly suggestive of a hormonal disorder, but patients don’t always report all their symptoms — for example, a woman may talk to her gynecologist about menstrual changes without mentioning her headaches or bruising. When taken together, however, these symptoms point strongly in the direction of a hormone problem and the individual should be referred for blood tests to look at hormone levels. (See Diagnosing and Treating Cushing’s Disease.)
Patients diagnosed with a pituitary tumor should be referred to a major medical center with an expert team of pituitary specialists. At the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center, patients will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team that includes neurosurgeons, otolaryngologists, endocrinologists, and neuroradiologists. If surgery is recommended, it will be performed by a neurosurgeon with advanced skills in minimally invasive procedures to remove pituitary tumors. (See Surgery for a Pituitary Tumor.)
Reviewed by: Georgiana Dobri, M.D.
Last reviewed/last updated: September 2023