Process of Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Tests for Cortisol Levels

  • 24-hour urinary free cortisol level-Urine is collected for 24 hours and tested.
  • Late-evening cortisol saliva/blood level-Saliva or blood is collected around 11 pm and tested.
  • Dexamethasone suppression test-A synthetic cortisol called dexamethasone is taken by mouth; blood and urine samples may be taken overnight or over several days.

Tests to Determine Cause of Cushing's Syndrome

  • CRH stimulation test
  • ACTH level
  • High-dose dexamethasone suppression test

X-rays and Scans

These tests may show whether there is a tumor in the pituitary or adrenal glands or another area of the body. Common imaging tools include:

  • MRI scan-a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of the inside of the body
  • CT scan-a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
  • Chest x-ray-which may detect tumors in the lungs

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