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Thyroid Diseases

Is This Really Cushing's Syndrome?

12/06/2006

Question:

The doctor told me that my eleven year old daughter has Cushing's syndrom. Her cortisol level is too high.

Is this a very serious disease? She has put on a lot of weight. Could this cause a lot of problems? The doctor's advice is she tries to get rid of the weight.

Answer:

Well, first I want to be certain the doctor really said she had Cushing's Syndrome. The test for Cushing's Syndrome is to collect urine for 24 hours, or else collect some saliva at bedtime. Cushing's Syndrome can cause weight gain, but the treatment for it would be surgery. It would be unusual for a doctor to tell a person with Cushing's Syndrome to "get rid of the weight" without recommending some kind of surgery. The fact that her doctor told her to "get rid of the weight" makes me wonder if the doctor has really diagnosed Cushing's Syndrome. Maybe you should check back with the doctor about this. Cushing's Syndrome can be serious, but it is very treatable.

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Response by:

Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University