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What does adrenal failure cause?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1980
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What does adrenal failure cause??
Posted Thu, 4 Oct 2012 in Thyroid Problem and Hormonal Problems
Answered by Dr. Rahul Tawde 1 hour later
Adrenal failure is a condition in which the adrenal glands do not produce adequate amounts of steroid hormones primarily cortisol, but may also include impaired aldosterone production (a mineralocorticoid) which regulates sodium, potassium and water retention. Addison's disease, exogenous steroid use and congenital adrenal hyperplasia are some important causes of adrenal insufficiency.
Adrenal insufficiency symptoms include craving for salt or salty foods, abdominal pains, vomiting, profound muscle weakness and fatigue, depression, low blood pressure (hypotension), weight loss, kidney failure, changes in mood and personality, and shock in severe cases (adrenal crisis). An adrenal crisis often occurs if the body is subjected to stress, such as an accident, injury, surgery, or severe infection; death may quickly follow due to hypotension. ON biochemical testing patient will have low cortisol, low sodium, metabolic acidosis and hyperkalemia. ACTh levels are also altered depending on the etiology.
Most patients will require lifelong steroid replacement, salt supplementation, with or without mineralocorticoid therapy.
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