Journal of Endocrinological Investigation

, Volume 38, Issue 10, pp 1137–1139 | Cite as

PseudoCushing: why a clinical challenge?

  • F. Pecori Giraldi

Any clinician who deals with obese, depressed, and ruddy-faced individuals has certainly faced the quandary as to whether the patient presents Cushing’s syndrome or more simply pseudoCushing. This distinction presents a significant clinical challenge for even the most expert endocrinologist due to a variety of reasons, comprising overlap in clinical and laboratory alterations, skewed epidemiology, and insufficient accuracy of diagnostic procedures.

PseudoCushing can arise in patients with depression, obesity, alcoholism, or polycystic ovaries. In some patients, such as alcoholic individuals, the underlying cause can easily be suspected during case history taking. Alcoholism may give rise to a striking resemblance to overt endogenous hypercortisolism, e.g., blowsy face, muscular atrophy, diabetes, psychiatric symptoms [1]. It has been my experience that alcoholism is the most likely cause of pseudoCushing among men with signs suspicious for Cushing’s syndrome. Cushing’s disease per se...


PseudoCushing Cushing’s syndrome Diagnosis Depression Alcoholism 


Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by the author.

Informed Consent

No Informed Consent.


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Sciences and Community HealthUniversity of MilanMilanItaly
  2. 2.Neuroendocrinology Research LaboratoryIstituto Auxologico ItalianoCusano MilaninoItaly

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