How do healthcare providers diagnose Cushing syndrome?

Diagnosing Cushing syndrome can be complex and difficult. This syndrome is easier to recognize once it develops fully, but healthcare providers try to diagnose and treat it before it gets to that point. No single test can definitively diagnose the condition, so healthcare providers often use several steps to diagnose Cushing syndrome. If you are being checked for Cushing syndrome, the tests may occur in the following order1,2:


  1. Nieman, L. K., Biller, B. M. K., Findling, J. W., Newell-Price, J., Savage, M. O., Stewart, P. M., & Montori, V. M. (2008). The diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome: An Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. Retrieved March 2, 2017, from 
  2. Boscaro, M., & Arnaldi, G. (2009). Approach to the patient with possible Cushing’s syndrome. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 94(9), 3121–3131. Retrieved April 9, 2019, from
  3. MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Dexamethasone suppression test. Retrieved March 2, 2017, from
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