Adrenal glands are organs located in the abdomen on the top of the kidneys. These glands are essential for production of many hormones. The anatomic parts of the adrenal glands include the cortex and the medulla. Each of them is in charge with production of many hormones. In case of adrenal insufficiency some or several adrenal hormones are not produced in sufficient amounts and the lack of them causes specific symptoms and signs.
In many cases adrenal insufficiency develops in a form of inappropriate production of cortical. Furthermore, in some patients there is an insufficient production of aldosterone. It is essential to identify which hormone is not produced in sufficient amounts and treat patient accordingly. If left untreated adrenal insufficiency may lead to many complications such as abdominal pains, diarrhea, vomiting and profound muscle weakness and fatigue. There is also a chance of depression and extremely low blood pressure. Weight loss, kidney failure, changes in mood and personality as well as shock may be additional symptoms of the condition.
Causes and Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency
In patients suffering from adrenal insufficiency there are several factors that might have led to the onset of the condition. For example, the condition may be connected with genetic and environmental factors. Adrenal insufficiency is classified as primary and secondary. In primary adrenal insufficiency the gland is affected by tumors, autoimmune disease or it is idiopathic. In case of secondary adrenal insufficiency the problem originates from the disorders of the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus.
The most serious condition associated with lack of adrenal gland hormones is Addison's disease. This illness is even life-threatening in case left untreated. The lethal outcome may result from kidney failure and adrenal crisis (acute adrenal failure).
Some of the symptoms associated with adrenal insufficiency are increased fatigue, loss of appetite, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, changes in mood, disorientation, confusion, hypoglycemia, hypotension, muscle pain and weight loss. Treatment for Adrenal Insufficiency
It may be difficult to diagnose adrenal insufficiency in early stages since the condition features with symptoms and signs similar to those in other conditions.
Adrenal crisis is treated with intravenous fluids, intravenous administration of steroids and in later stages Hydrocortisone, Prednisone or methyprednisolone tablets. One is supposed to rest.
Cortisole deficiency, both primary and secondary, is treated with adrenal cortical extract that is usually administered in a form of a supplement, Hydrocortisone, Prednisone, methylprednisone and dexamethasone.
And finally, mineralcorticoid deficiency is treated with fludrocortisone. This synthetic corticosteroid is essential for proper balance of sodium, potassium and it increases water retention.