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Adrenal Insufficiency



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Clinical


Adrenal insufficiency is a condition in which the body lacks adequate production of a hormone, cortisol.  This hormone affects every cell and tissue in the body and is responsible for helping the body make energy.  Lack of this hormone, particularly in times of stress, may cause serious consequences, including shock and death.

     Fatigue, tiredness
     Mental depression
     Dizziness, especially upon standing
     Weight loss and/or loss of appetite
          May crave salt
     Change in skin pigment:
          Depending on cause of adrenal insufficiency, may have either darkening or lightening of skin
     Loss of sexual drive
          Impotence in men
          Amenorrhea (loss of menstrual periods) in women
          Loss of hair in pubic area and armpits
     Increased sensitivity to smells, tastes, noises
     Voice weakness         Severe weakness, blackout spells
        Irregular heartbeat
        Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

Treatment

Always discuss treatment of adrenal insufficiency with your doctor. This is a serious medical condition which may require rapid intervention, especially in emergency and crisis situations.

     - Always carry a Medical Alert identification indicating that you are:
           "Cortisone-dependent" or "Adrenal insufficiency"

     - Take your medication faithfully, as indicated by your physician.
           Failure to take even one pill so may endanger your life.

     - You may need to take 2-5 times your usual dose of medication if you have severe physical or mental stress,  fever greater
            than 101 degrees (F), surgery, etc.

     - If, for any reason,  you are unable to take your medication by mouth, you will need to get the medication by injection

     - Discuss with your doctor if you should carry injectable steroids with you, for emergency use.



Click here for convenient patient handouts:

For information on how to order medical alert identification:


For the health professional, the following link provides quality pathology photographs of adrenal and other endocrine disorders:
RESOURCES


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Click here to review the privacy policy of this Web site:

PRIVACY ALERT: Anyone using the internet for medical information should be aware that personal information such as identity, interests, and surfing habits may not be secure or private.  Although many health information sites claim that they do not release information about those visiting the site, numerous commercial entities may have access to sensitive personal information by mechanisms such as cookies and banners.

Please read the Report on the "Privacy Policies and Practices of Health Web Sites" monograph from the California Healthcare Foundation for their detailed discussion on consumer health care on the internet.

Also, please refer to the guidelines for safe surfing published by the Federal Trade Commission:

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These links are provided as a service to my viewers.  Site listings are included on the basis of their relevance to the theme of this page, and are meant to be comprehensive and as complete as possible.  Inclusions/exclusions do not constitute any endorsement/ non-endorsement of the linked resource.  I always reserve the right to list or not list any resource link for any reason.

I welcome any feedback or suggestions for links on this page.

Thank you for your understanding.

Kim Carmichael, M.D.


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Copyright 1996-2011 - Kim A. Carmichael, M.D.
Last update February 23, 2011


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