Day Four, Cushing’s Awareness Challenge

The Seven Dwarves of Cushing's

So, these are only seven of the many, many symptoms of Cushing’s.  I had those above – and I often felt like I looked like one of those little bearded dwarves.

Cushing’s affects every part of the body.  It’s not like when I had kidney cancer and only the kidney was affected.

Here’ are some of the many areas affected.

  • Progressive obesity and skin changes
  • Weight gain and fatty tissue deposits, particularly around the midsection and upper back, in the face (moon face) and between the shoulders (buffalo hump). Some symptoms such as sudden weight gain, are caused by excess cortisol. The excess cortisol in the body does not increase protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It slows or nearly disables metabolism function, which can cause weight gain (fat accumulation) in the buttocks, abdomen, cheeks, neck, or upper back.
  • Loss of muscle mass. Some areas of the body, such as the arms and legs, will remain thin.
  • Pink or purple stretch marks (striae) on the skin of the abdomen, thighs, breasts and arms
  • Thinning, fragile skin that bruises easily
  • Slow healing of cuts, insect bites and infections
  • Acne

Women with Cushing’s syndrome may experience:

  • Thicker or more visible body and facial hair (hirsutism)
  • Irregular or absent menstrual periods

Men with Cushing’s syndrome may experience:

  • Decreased libido
  • Decreased fertility
  • Erectile dysfunction

Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Depression, anxiety and irritability
  • Loss of emotional control
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • New or worsened high blood pressure
  • Glucose intolerance that may lead to diabetes
  • Headache
  • Bone loss, leading to fractures over time
  • Hyperlipidemia (elevated lipids – cholesterol – in the blood stream)
  • Recurrent opportunistic or bacterial infections
Think you have Cushing’s?  Get to a doctor and don’t give up!


13 Responses


    • Hi, M. Watson – I'm so sorry you're having a hard time with Cushing's, too. Are you on cortisone replacement after your adrenalectomy?

      There are lots and lots of people on the Cushing's Help message boards at if you haven't found it yet. They might not be able to help you lose weight, but they will sure understand.

      Best of luck to you!

      • Thank You!! I will go there today., have added this and a few other pages to my facebook..

  2. Comments from Facebook:

    Dawn: Love the dwarves picture

    MaryO: Thanks 🙂 I’d seen that done as the 7 Dwarves of Menopause and I thought we could do better than that. LOL

  3. Comments from Facebook:

    Nancy said: Please take time to read this! The life you save could be your own…or in my case MY CHILD!

  4. Love the new dwarf names!

  5. Comments from Facebook:

    Sarah said: Oh, I love this. it is right on the money. I am 3yrs post Pituitary surgery and still have no Adrennal function.
    If I was sharp enough I would try to come up with 7 new ones to describe my current condition. Maybe you can all help me. It would be funny too.
    But. I LOVE IT> I want it on a shirt. Is that possible.

    Zoann said: Love this! I have exogenous Cushings Syndrome due to doctors over-prescribing prednisone. The only symptom I don't have is the thin arms & legs! I agree with Sarah, this needs to be on a t-shirt.

  6. Comments from Facebook:

    Karen said: Another informative cushings blog. Thank you MaryO!

  7. From Facebook:

    Dawn said: Mary Kelly O'Connor's awesome picture of the Seven Dwarves of Cushing's. Thankfully I never had to deal with the hairy issue that a lot of cushie's do. The rest, yep.

  8. AweHaHa! "The Seven Dwarves of Cushing's" was such a refreshing delight, and so very accurate for me to relate to. Thanks for bringing a smile to my day, as it doesn't happen easily these days!

  9. […] drugs.  Clomid and another drug.  One or both drugs made me very angry/depressed/bitchy (one dwarves I left off the image)  Little did I know that these meds were a waste of […]

  10. Not quite sure how I ended up here, must agree with Lisa though, it really is a VERY refreshing approach, and I had to giggle a bit. I do not suffer from this ailment, and while I admit I do not understand much of how this affects people, my heart goes out to those afflicted. It's amazing how we complain about minor things until you get confronted with what others have to endure…especially sad when it's through no fault of your own!

  11. Some great information on Cushing. I wish I had found it faster. I love the article.
    <a herf="">Adrenal Mass

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