Amy Schumer reveals Cushing's syndrome diagnosis - What is it and what are the symptoms?

Amy Schumer has revealed her diagnosis after the criticism she received over her appearance, ITV News Correspondent Cari Davies reports

Amy Schumer has revealed she has been diagnosed with Cushing's syndrome after she was on the receiving end of online speculation over her appearance.

On Friday, the US comedian and actor shared a health update with News Not Noise newsletter, revealing she has exogenous Cushing's syndrome, brought on by getting steroid injections in high doses.

Schumer said she felt "reborn" after her diagnosis. But what is Cushing's syndrome and what are the symptoms of the condition? ITV News explains.

What is Cushing's syndrome?

Cushing's syndrome is a condition caused by having too much of a hormone called cortisol in your body. It can be serious if it's not treated, according to the NHS.

The condition is uncommon. It mostly affects people who have been taking steroid medicine, especially steroid tablets, for a long time.

Steroids contain a synthetic version of cortisol. Very rarely, it can be caused by the body producing too much cortisol.

This is usually the result of:

  • a growth (tumour) in the pituitary gland in the brain

  • a tumour in one of the adrenal glands above the kidneys

  • the tumours are usually non-cancerous (benign) and they're most common in young women

What are the symptoms of Cushing's syndrome?

Symptoms of Cushing's syndrome can start suddenly or gradually. One of the main signs is weight gain and more body fat, such as:

  • increased fat on your chest and tummy, while your arms and legs remain slimmer

  • a build-up of fat on the back of your neck and shoulders

  • a red, puffy, rounded face

Other symptoms include:

  • skin that bruises easily

  • large purple stretch marks

  • weakness in your upper arms and thighs

  • a reduced sex drive (low libido) and fertility problems

  • depression and mood swings

Cushing's syndrome can also cause high blood pressure, which can be serious if not treated.

If you are worried, contact your GP or visit the NHS website for more information. In an emergency call 999.

Amy Schumer

When should you seek medical advice?

See a GP if you have symptoms of Cushing's syndrome, especially if you're taking steroids.

It is advised that you do not stop taking your medicine without getting medical advice.

Lots of things can cause similar symptoms to Cushing's syndrome, so the NHS recommends getting checked to find out what the problem is before acting on it.

Is Cushing's syndrome treatable?

According to the NHS, Cushing's syndrome usually gets better with treatment, although treatment depends on what's causing it.

If it's caused by taking steroids, your steroid dose will be gradually reduced or stopped by your doctor or GP.

If it's caused by a tumour, the NHS says treatment may include:

  • surgery to remove the tumour

  • radiotherapy to destroy the tumour

  • medicines to reduce the effect of cortisol on your body

For more information online, visit the NHS website or The Pituitary Foundation.

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