Michelle Badash, MS
Cushing's syndrome is a hormone disorder. Cortisol, in normal doses, helps the body manage stress and infection. However, high levels over a long period of time can cause several health problems.
Cushing's syndrome is caused by extended exposure to a hormone called cortisol. Prolonged or excess exposure to cortisol may be caused by:
Factors that may increase your chance of Cushing's syndrome include:
Cushing's syndrome may cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may be done to determine the level of cortisol and find a cause.
Tests for cortisol levels may include:
Tests to determine the cause of Cushing's syndrome may include:
Imaging tests evaluate the pituitary and adrenal glands, and other internal structures. These may include:
Treatment of Cushing's syndrome depends on the cause. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
Work with your doctor to keep your use of corticosteroid drugs to a minimum.
Cushing's Support and Research Foundation
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
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Last reviewed February 2016 by Kim Carmichael, MD
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