(Adrenal Insufficiency; Adrenocortical Hypofunction; Chronic Adrenocortical Insufficiency; Hypoadrenalism)
|Addison's occurs because of damage to the cortex.|
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- The body's own immune system attacking the gland—known as an autoimmune disease.
- 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, including:
- Cancer including metastases from:
- Medications such as ketoconazole or etomidate
- Radiation treatment
- Chronic illness, including:
- Having the following autoimmune diseases:
- 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
- Severe abdominal, back, or leg pain
- Severe low blood pressure
- Severe dehydration
- Severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Low blood sugar
- Generalized muscle weakness
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- ACTH stimulation test
- MRI scan
- CT scan
- Self-injection of dexamethasone
- Hydrocortisone by IV
- Normal saline by IV
The Adrenoleukodystrophy Foundation http://www.aldfoundation.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
Addison's disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/endo/pubs/addison/addison.htm . Updated April 6, 2012. Accessed June 25, 2013.
Adrenocortical insufficiency. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated May 29, 2013. Accessed June 25, 2013.
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):167-79.
Salvatori R. Adrenal insufficiency. JAMA . 2005;294:2481-2488.
Ten S, New M, Maclaren N. Clinical Review 130: Addison's disease. J Clin Endo Metabol . 2001;86:2909-2922.
Thomas Z, Fraser GL. An update on the diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency and the use of corticotherapy in critical illness. Ann Pharmather . 2007;41:1456-65.
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; Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 06/2013 -
- Update Date: 05/11/2013 -