Taking care of your nutritional health

Getting proper nutrition through a well-balanced diet is very important for people living with Cushing’s disease. Because this condition can affect how your body processes some foods, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian, who can advise you on your diet.

Here are a few suggestions on things you can do to have a healthier diet:

Beware of too much sodium

Excess sodium can affect your blood pressure, cause swelling, and make you gain weight. So, try to follow these tips:

  • Don’t add extra salt to your food
  • Avoid food that is prepared with added salt1

Be sure to get enough daily calcium and vitamin D

People with Cushing’s disease often develop osteoporosis (fragile bones). Calcium and vitamin D can be important in strengthening bones.1,2

Here are guidelines for daily calcium and vitamin D intake based on age. These recommendations are the same for the general population.1,2

Recommended daily calcium intake1
Age 1-10 Age 11-24 Age 24 and up
800 mg of calcium 1200 mg of calcium 800 mg of calcium
Age 0 (birth)-50 Age 51-70 Age 71 and up
5 mcg of vitamin D 10 mcg of vitamin D 15 mcg of vitamin D

Try to keep cholesterol in check

Cushing’s disease can cause cholesterol levels to go up. So you should try to limit your intake of fatty foods and eat dairy products (such as milk and cheese) that are low in fat.1

High blood sugar may require special dietary changes

Cushing’s disease can also cause high blood sugar levels (called hyperglycemia). If this happens, special medicine and a special diet may be needed.1

These are just some of the dietary tips for people with Cushing’s disease. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to find out what’s right for you.

References: 1. Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health. Nutrition for patients with Cushing’s syndrome. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health; 1997:1-2. 2. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary supplement fact sheet—vitamin D. Accessed October 13, 2009.