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Cushing's syndrome
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Cushing's syndrome

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DIABETES AND ENDOCRINE SYSTEM

Endocrine System

From MayoClinic.com

Screening and diagnosis

Your doctor will conduct a physical exam, looking for signs of Cushing's syndrome. He or she may suspect Cushing's syndrome if you have signs such as rounding of the face (moon face), a pad of fatty tissue at the shoulders and neck (buffalo hump), and thin skin with bruises and stretch marks. Your physician may ask you about signs and symptoms such as fatigue, depression and weight change.

If you've been taking a corticosteroid medication long-term, your doctor may suspect that you've developed Cushing's syndrome as a result of this drug. If you haven't been using these drugs, these diagnostic tests may help pinpoint the cause:

  • Urine and blood tests. These tests measure hormone levels in your urine and blood and show whether your body is producing excessive cortisol. For the urine test, you may be asked to collect a sample of your urine over a 24-hour period. Both the urine and blood samples will be sent to a laboratory to be analyzed for cortisol levels.

  • Your doctor also might recommend other specialized tests that evaluate the blood and urine to help determine if Cushing's syndrome is present and to help identify the underlying source of any excess production. These tests often involve measuring cortisol levels before and after stimulation or suppression with other hormone medications.

  • Imaging tests. Computerized tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can provide images of your pituitary and adrenal glands to locate abnormalities such as tumors.

As these tests help your doctor diagnose Cushing's syndrome, they may also rule out medical conditions with similar symptoms. For example, polycystic ovary syndrome — a hormone disorder in women with enlarged ovaries — shares some of the same signs and symptoms as Cushing's, such as excessive hair growth and obesity. Depression, eating disorders and alcoholism also can mimic some of the symptoms of Cushing's syndrome.

Complications

When Cushing's syndrome is caused by a pituitary tumor (Cushing's disease), it can sometimes lead to other problems, such as impairing your peripheral vision or interfering with the production of other hormones that the pituitary controls.

If you don't receive prompt treatment for Cushing's syndrome, other complications may occur, such as:

Cushing's syndrome > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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