Cushing's Disease and Impaired Physical Performance

This newly published research looks at how Cushing's Disease affects one's physical importance. Below is a brief summary of the paper. You can read the full paper here >


Thigh Muscle Fat Infiltration Is Associated With Impaired Physical Performance Despite Remission in Cushing’s Syndrome


Muscle weakness, mostly involving the lower limbs, is one of the commonest complications of chronic exposure to cortisol excess in Cushing’s Disease/Syndrome. This research seeks to understand the relationship between muscle weakness and exposure to elevated levels of cortisol over an extended period, and recruited 36 women in remission against a control group of the same number.

Recent data the researchers analysed demonstrated that muscle function impairment remains long after hormone regulation is restored in “cured” Cushing’s patients, and the purpose of the research was to discover the possible reasons for this. In the course of the research[SH1] , it was noted that Cushing’s leads to increased fat deposits in thigh muscles particularly, which affects strength and endurance. The research shows that female patients in long-term remission have increased intramuscular fat in the thigh muscles, and this is associated with impaired performance on tests assessing individual functional capacity, balance, and strength.

Furthermore, the results support the hypothesis that the sustained alteration of physical performance in “cured” Cushing’s may be associated with the deterioration of muscle quality due to intramuscular fat accumulation rather than to decreased muscle mass.

In its conclusion, the researchers argue they have demonstrated that patients previously exposed to excess cortisol present with greater fatty infiltration in the thigh muscles and poorer muscle function, along with an association between fat infiltration and impairment of muscle performance in “cured” Cushing’s patients.