Case Study 2: Cushing’s Syndrome
Ms Maureen Smith is a 24 year old female who presented to her GP for ongoing gastrointestinal bleeding, abdominal pain and fatigue which has been worsening, and was referred to the local hospital for further investigation. Maureen was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) when she was 15 years old, and has experienced multiple exacerbations of RA which have required the use of high dose corticosteroids. She is currently taking 50mg of prednisolone daily, and has been taking this dose since her last exacerbation 2 months ago. Maureen also has type 2 diabetes which is managed with metformin. She is currently studying nursing at university and works part-time at the local pizza restaurant.
On assessment, Maureen’s vital signs are: PR 88 bpm; RR 18 bpm; BP 154/106 mmHg; Temp 36.9oC: SpO2 99% on room air. She has a body mass index (BMI) of 28kg/m2 and the fat is mainly distributed around her abdominal area, as well as a hump between her shoulders. Maureen’s husband notes that her face has become more round over the past few weeks. Her fasting BGL is 14.0mmol/L. Blood test results show low cortisol and ACTH levels, and high levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol. She is awaiting a bone mineral density test this afternoon, and is currently collecting urine for a 24-hour cortisol level measurement.