Adrenal Crisis

Adrenal Crisis or Acute Adrenal Failure

Adrenal crisis is a potentially life-threatening medical condition requiring immediate emergency treatment. It is a constellation of symptoms that indicate severe adrenal insufficiency caused by insufficient levels of the hormone cortisol. This may be the result of either previously undiagnosed or untreated Addison’s disease, a disease process suddenly affecting adrenal function (such as bleeding from the adrenal glands in Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome), suddenly stopping intake of glucocorticoids or an intercurrent problem (e.g. infection, trauma, in fact any form of physical or mental stress) in someone known to have Addison’s disease, congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), or other form. Adrenal crisis is caused by a deficiency of cortisol resulting from Addison’s disease, congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), corticosteroid biosynthetic enzyme defects or pituitary disorders (such as Sheehan’s syndrome, pituitary adenoma, hypopituitarism (inactive or underactive pituitary) causing failure to activate the adrenal glands of primary adrenal insufficiency. [1]

Acute adrenal failure (addisonian crisis)

Sometimes the signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease may appear suddenly. Acute adrenal failure (Addisonian crisis) can lead to life-threatening shock. Seek emergency medical treatment if you experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Severe weakness
  • Confusion
  • Pain in your lower back or legs
  • Severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration
  • Reduced consciousness or delirium

In an Addisonian crisis you will also have:

  • Salt cravings
  • Muscle or joint pains.

Acute adrenal failure (addisonian crisis)

  • Sometimes the signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease may appear suddenly.
  • Acute adrenal failure (addisonian crisis) can lead to life-threatening shock.

Seek emergency medical treatment if you experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Severe weakness
  • Confusion
  • Pain in your lower back or legs
  • Severe abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration
  • Reduced consciousness or delirium

In an Addisonian crisis you will also have:

  • Low blood pressure
  • High potassium (hyperkalemia) and low sodium (hyponatremia)

See your doctor if you have common signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease, such as:

  • Darkening areas of skin (hyperpigmentation)
  • Severe fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Salt cravings
  • Muscle or joint pains[2]

emergencykit

More information is available under “Guests Stories”.  My friend Janice has compiled a number of stories detailing her experiences with Addison’s disease.

[1] Wikipedia

[2] Mayo Clinic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s