Cushing’s Syndrome Diagnosis

Exams and Tests for Cushing’s Syndrome

Written by Julie M. Gentile
Reviewed by Daniel J. Toft MD, PhD

Cushing's syndrome can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, especially since the symptoms of Cushing's syndrome can mimic other conditions, such as metabolic syndrome.

Often times, several tests are needed to confirm a Cushing's syndrome diagnosis—and your doctor will want to rule out other conditions.

Diagnosing Cushing's syndrome starts with a doctor's visit—your doctor will do a physical exam and ask about your personal medical history. He or she will ask you if you are currently taking corticosteroids or have used them in the past because taking these medications long term can lead to Cushing's syndrome.

Your doctor will also ask you about your family medical history since it's possible to inherit conditions (eg, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1) that cause tumors to develop on one or more of your endocrine glands.

During your physical, your doctor may notice obvious signs of Cushing's syndrome, such as weight gain around the stomach and thin arms and legs, but to confirm a Cushing's syndrome diagnosis and help identify the cause, your doctor may order special tests.

Tests for Cushing's Syndrome

Some of the imaging tests your doctor may recommend are:

The exams and tests listed in this article will help your doctor diagnose Cushing's syndrome—as well as identify its cause. The sooner you're diagnosed with Cushing's syndrome, the sooner you can begin treatment for Cushing's syndrome.

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