The Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency

Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, MD, FRCPC, FACE, Endocrinologist, The Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency

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Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, MD, FRCPC, FACE, Endocrinologist, The Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency
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Featuring Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, MD, FRCPC, FACE, Endocrinologist The Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency Duration: 2 minutes, 7 seconds

There are two categories of adrenal insufficiency: primary and secondary insufficiency. Primary means the adrenal glands are diseased or damaged and stop working, and secondary means the pituitary gland is not sending the proper signals to stimulate the function of the adrenal gland.

We call primary adrenal insufficiency Addison’s disease and the causes include autoimmune destruction of the gland, infections and very rarely tumours in the adrenal gland. Whereas secondary adrenal insufficiency is caused by either pituitary disease or suppression of the function of the pituitary gland by taking steroid medication, for example.

The symptoms of adrenal insufficiency include profound fatigue and weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, sometimes nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain. Many individuals with this condition will complain of lightheadedness or dizziness, and if your adrenal glands are the primary cause of the disorder, becoming hyperpigmented, almost like you have a suntan without being in the sun is sometimes a diagnostic clue for your physician.

So if you see your doctor and you have some of these signs or symptoms, your doctor may order a series of tests to make the diagnosis. Typically they are measuring blood or urine levels to check the production of cortisol, and if the diagnosis is proven, then treatment is quite simple.

It’s to replace the hormones that are missing, so your doctor may give a prescription for a cortisone type medication like cortisone or prednisone, and if you need a mineralocorticoid they may give an additional hormone to help maintain your blood pressure and salt balance.

If you think you have any of the signs and/or symptoms of adrenal insufficiency and they haven’t been explained already, you should see your physician to get appropriate tests.

VIDEO Title : The Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency

Presenter: Dr. Ronald Goldenberg, Endocrinologist, Thornhill, ON

Local Practitioners: Endocrinologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.