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A 33-year-old member asked:

What is adrenal insufficiency?

2 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Susan Wingo
Endocrinology 33 years experience
Low adrenal function: The adrenal glands make a number of different hormones, most importantly cortisol. When a person's adrenals cannot make normal amounts of cortisol, they are diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency, or failure. This can be due to a problem in the adrenals (infection, tumor, bleeding, auto-immune destruction) or in the pituitary or parts of the brain that control the adrenals.
Dr. Gregg Nishi
Bariatrics 22 years experience
Adrenal insufficienc: Adrenal insufficiency occurs when there is not enough cortisol produced by the adrenal glands. This can occur either from damage to the adrenal glands or the pituitary gland in the brain. Symptoms include weakness, tiredness, dizziness, low blood pressure, cardiovascular collapse, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea among other things.

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A 31-year-old member asked:

What are the tests for adrenal insufficiency?

1 doctor answer6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology 49 years experience
Primary vs secondary: The fault may lie in the pituitary which may produce too little acth. The adrenal responds normally to acth stimulation. If the gland is defective, there is impaired response to acth. In both there are low levels of corticosteroids in blood and urine, and similar electrolyte disturbances, e.G, high potassium.
A 41-year-old member asked:

How is adrenal insufficiency diagnosed?

2 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Susan Wingo
Endocrinology 33 years experience
Stimulation Test: Cortisol levels vary widely between individuals, and by time of day and are affected by illness. So random levels may not be helpful. A stimulation test with an injection of Cortrosyn to make the adrenals release cortisol is used. Blood is drawn just before, and 30 and 60 minutes after the Cortrosyn injection. Stimulated levels above 18-20 usually indicate normal adrenal function.
A 52-year-old member asked:

How do you treat adrenal insufficiency?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Quang Nguyen
Specializes in Endocrinology
Meds: It depends on where the problem is. If the adrenal insufficiency is caused by a pituitary dysfunction, then the treatment is steroid (hydrocortisone, prednisone...) if the problem is at the adrenals, then you will need both steroids and a mineralcorticoid (florinef).
A 47-year-old member asked:

Is adrenal insufficiency hereditary?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Susan Wingo
Endocrinology 33 years experience
It can be.: One cause of adrenal insufficiency, addison's disease, is an auto-immune disorder. The immune system mistakenly makes antibodies targeting one or more proteins in the adrenal cortex, and winds up destroying the adrenal cortex, so that the adrenals can no longer make cortisol, or other hormones. As is true for most auto-immune disorders, a tendency to develop addison's can run in families.
A 46-year-old member asked:

What is acute adrenal insufficiency?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Cayce Jehaimi
Pediatric Endocrinology 21 years experience
Low cortisol : It generally means acute (recent) drop in adrenal gland hormonal production namely cortisol, a very important and life sustaining steroid. There are many reason why some one can develop ai. Autoimmune, infection, acute illness and trauma are a few examples. Need to discuss with an endocrinologist if there is need for hormonal replacement.

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Last updated Nov 2, 2019

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