4 ways to DX Cushings
MaryO posted this the other day. Very interesting and may be helpful for you to bring to the doc.
4 Ways to Diagnose Cushing's Syndrome
1. Common Signs
A physical exam is often the first step in a diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome. Several physical signs indicate the syndrome. Your doctor will look for a hump in your back between the shoulders. People with Cushing's syndrome often have a rounded face, and they may have excess facial hair. The face may also be flushed or have purple marks across it similar to stretch marks. A blood pressure reading will also be taken. High blood pressure is often a symptom of the syndrome, as well as depression and anxiety. Help your doctor in making an accurate diagnosis by providing a thorough medical history.
2. The 24-Hour Test
In people with Cushing's syndrome, the adrenal gland produces too much of the hormone cortisol. Doctors can monitor your levels of cortisol in both blood and urine. You may be instructed to collect urine for a 24-hour period and to submit blood samples to check for increased hormone levels. Your doctor will also look at your blood-sugar levels since Cushing's syndrome can also cause diabetes. Your doctor will have you do the urine test many times, then prescribe a medication to alter the cortisol levels in your body. You will repeat the urine test to determine if the medication has changed the hormone levels accordingly.
3. It's in the Saliva
A saliva test is another option to help diagnose Cushing's syndrome. You will most likely be asked to collect a sample late in the evening before bed. Normally, cortisol levels are highest in the morning and fall throughout the day. In people with Cushing's syndrome, the hormone levels are high all the time. By collecting a sample late in the evening, your doctor can see if levels are still high.
4. CT Scans Aid in Diagnosis
Because the problem may be with the adrenal gland, a CT scan or an MRI can help determine a correct diagnosis. The scan can give your health-care provider a look at your internal organs. A CT scan can detect tumors that may be affecting the adrenal gland and causing the increase in cortisol production. Several symptoms of Cushing's syndrome can be similar to other
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