(Adrenal Insufficiency; Adrenocortical Hypofunction; Chronic Adrenocortical Insufficiency; Hypoadrenalism)
|Addison's occurs because of damage to the cortex.|
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- An autoimmune reaction—the body's own immune system attacks the gland
- Bleeding within the adrenal glands—related to the use of anticoagulant medications and shock
- Surgical complication
- Conditions that are present at birth or due to genetic factors such as enzyme defects and familial glucocorticoid insufficiency
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection associated with AIDS
- Fungal infections
- Certain cancers, including those that have spread
- Certain medications
- Radiation therapy
- Chronic disorders, such as:
- Autoimmune disorders, such as:
- Anticoagulant medications
- Abdominal injury
- Family members with autoimmune-caused Addison's disease
Long-term steroid medication treatment, followed by:
- Severe stress
- Previous surgery on adrenal glands
- Hereditary disorders, such as Prader-Willi syndrome and congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Extreme weakness, fatigue
- Weight loss
- Nausea or vomiting
- Chronic diarrhea
- Muscle weakness or pain
- Darkening of freckles, nipples, scars, skin creases, gums, mouth, nail beds, and vaginal lining
- Emotional changes, especially depression
- Cognitive impairment or confusion
- Craving salty foods
- Abdominal pain
- High or low body temperature
- Severe abdominal, back, or leg pain
- Severe dehydration
- Severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Bluish skin color
- Muscle weakness
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- ACTH stimulation test
- Self-injection of dexamethasone
- Hydrocortisone by IV
- Normal saline by IV
Family Doctor (American Academy of Family Physicians) http://familydoctor.org
National Adrenal Diseases Foundation http://www.nadf.us
The Canadian Addison Society http://www.addisonsociety.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Adrenal insufficiency and Addison's disease. National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service website. Available at: http://endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/addison/addison.aspx. Updated May 14, 2014. Accessed June 4, 2014.
Adrenal insufficiency in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 16, 2013. Accessed June 4, 2014.
Arlt W, Allolio B. Adrenal insufficiency. Lancet. 2003;361(9372):1881-1893.
Dorin RI, Qualls CR, Crapo LM. Diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency. Ann Int Med. 2003;138(3):194-214.
Hahner S, Allolio B. Therapeutic management of adrenal insufficiency. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009;23(2):167-179.
Salvatori R. Adrenal insufficiency. JAMA. 2005;294(19):2481-2488.
Ten S, New M, Maclaren N. Clinical Review 130: Addison's disease. J Clin Endo Metabol. 2001;86(7):2909-2922.
Thomas Z, Fraser GL. An update on the diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency and the use of corticotherapy in critical illness. Ann Pharmather. 2007;419(9):1456-65.
Wallace I, Cunningham S, Lindsay J. The diagnosis and investigation of adrenal insufficiency in adults. Ann Clin Biochem. 2009;46(Pt 5):351-367.
- Reviewer: Kim Carmichael, MD
- Review Date: 06/2015 -
- Update Date: 06/04/2014 -