How is Cushing's disease diagnosed?

  • Tests to measure the amount of cortisol in the urine or saliva
  • Taking a tablet of dexamethasone at night and measuring blood cortisol the next morning
  • Once it is determined that cortisol levels are high, additional tests are performed to determined the cause of high cortisol

More About Cushing's Disease

With Cushing's Disease, an excess of Cortisol is produced indirectly by a pituitary tumor. If your body produces too much cortisol over a long period of time, it can trigger emotional problems making you constantly tired and weak, can lead to weight gain, muscle and joint pain, insomnia and premature aging. Cortisol is directly related to almost every organ in the body, therefore the tumor creating the hormone excess, in most cases, must be removed.


  • high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • muscle weakness
  • formation of blueish-red stretch marks (arms, buttocks, breast, thighs, abdomen)
  • fat accumulation around neck, collar bone, abdomen and between shoulder blades
  • high blood sugar
  • back, neck and shoulder pain
  • irregular menstrual cycle
  • lack of sexual desire or impotency
  • balding
  • extreme fatigue
  • osteoporosis
  • kidney stones
  • emotional instability
  • abnormal facial hair growth
  • decreased immunity
  • round face

Treatment of Cushing's Disease

Treatment is usually surgical removal of the pituitary tumor. Other treatments include pituitary radiation, medical therapy, or removing the adrenal glands.