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Etiology of Adrenal Crisis/Acute Adrenal Insufficiency

In this article, we will discuss the Etiology of Adrenal Crisis/Acute Adrenal Insufficiency. So, let’s get started.

Etiology

Adrenal Causes

  • Sudden precipitation of Addison’s disease of adrenal origin
  • Bilateral adrenal hemorrhage (anticoagulant therapy or coagulation/bleeding disorders)
  • Bilateral adrenal thrombosis, e.g. antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Adrenal necrosis due to sepsis or septicemia (Water-house-Friderichsen syndrome)

Pituitary Causes

  • Postpartum pituitary necrosis (Sheehan’s syndrome)
  • Necrosis or bleeding into pituitary microadenoma
  • Head trauma
  • Lesions of pituitary stalk
  • Pituitary or adrenal surgery for Cushing’s syndrome

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Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency

In this article, we will discuss various Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency. So, let’s get started.

Signs and Symptoms

Glucocorticoid deficiency

  • Weight loss, weakness, lack of energy, fatigue
  • Anorexia, nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Postural hypotension, syncope, shock
  • Joint pain, myalgia
  • Hypoglycemia, hyponatremia, and hypercalcemia
  • Anemia, lymphocytosis, eosinophilia

Mineralocorticoid insufficiency

  • Postural hypotension
  • Shock
  • Hyponatremia
  • Salt craving and abdominal pain
  • Hyperkalemia

ACTH excess

  • Pigmentation on sun-exposed areas, pressure sores, e.g. elbow, knee and mucous membrane, conjunctivae, palmar creases, and recent scars

Adrenal androgen insufficiency

  • Decreased body hair (e.g. pubic, axillary) and loss of libido especially in females
  • Lack of energy
  • Dry and itchy skin
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