How is Cushing's syndrome diagnosed?
Your doctor may start by asking you questions about your medical history and doing a physical exam. If the cause is a medicine you are taking, no tests are usually needed. If your doctor thinks that you have Cushing's syndrome but you are not taking medicines that can cause it, you may need to have some blood and urine tests. These tests measure the amount of cortisol in your body.
You may be asked to collect your urine for 24 hours. You may also be given a medicine called dexamethasone before your blood or urine is collected. This tests your body's response to steroids.
At some point, you may need a computerized tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. These tests take a picture of your insides. Looking at these pictures, your doctor will be able to tell whether there are tumors on the pituitary gland or in other parts of your body that may be causing Cushing's syndrome.
Cushing's Disease: Clinical Manifestations and Diagnostic Evaluation by LF Kirk, Jr., M.D., RB Hash, M.D., HP Katner, M.D., and T Jones, M.D. (American Family Physician September 01, 2000, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000901/1119.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff