Skip to main content

Adrenaline Depletion

Kulsum Mehmood is an Eye Consultant. She is single mother. She is an Eye Consultant in a Private Eye Institute. She likes to write.

Adrenaline is secreted when we are excited or thrilled by something .....


Adrenaline Deficiency ..... Causes .....

Adrenal insufficiency results from inadequate secretion of cortisol and/or aldosterone. These hormones are secreted by the Adrenal glands which are two in number and situated above the two kidneys. This condition is potentially fatal.One should be suspicious in cases of unexplained fatigue and hypotension.( low blood pressure ) The two adrenal glands are controlled by master gland, the Pituitary gland which is situated in the brain below the Optic Chaisma.

Causes :

Most common cause is ACTH deficiency, usually because of inappropriate withdrawl of glucocorticoid therapy or a pituitary tumor. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia and Addison’s disease are rare. Common causes are :

Autoimmune, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, metastatic carcinomas, bilateral adrenalectomy, congenital adrenal hyperplasias, drugs ( aminoglutethimide, metyrapone, ketoconazole, etomidate etc.)

When oral steroids are prescribed for an ailment, they should not be stopped abruptly. They should be gradually tapered otherwise an adrenal crisis may result.

Adrenal glands ... two in number ... situated above the two kidneys ...


Clinical Features .....

Clinical features :

Weight loss, malaise, weakness, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, postural hypotension, shock, hypoglycaemia, hypotension, shock, hyponatremia, hyperkalemia, vitiligo.

Patient may present with chronic features and/or in acute circulatory shock. In a chronic presentation, initial symptoms are often misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome or depression. Vitiligo ( white patches on skin ) occurs in 10-20% of patients.

Features of an acute adrenal crisis include circulatory shock with severe hypotension, hyponatrimia, hyperkalemia. Muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and unexplained fever may be present. The crisis is often precipitated by intercurrent disease, surgery or infection.

Scroll to Continue

Management .....

Management :

Patients with adrenocortical insufficiency always need glucocorticoid replacement therapy and usually, but not always mineralocorticoid. Other treatments depend on the underlying cause.

Glucocorticoid replacement : Cortisol ( hydrocortisone ) is the drug of choice. If patient is not critically ill, cortisol should be given by mouth, 15 mgs on waking and 5 mgs at 6 PM. The dose needs to be adjusted for a particular patient. Excess weight gain usually indicates over-replacement, whilst persistent lethargy may be due to an inadequate dose.

Adrenal Crisis .....

An adrenal crisis is a medical emergency and requires intravenous hydrocortisone succinate 100 mgs and intravenous fluids. Injection hydrocortisone should be continued ( 100 mgs IM 6-hourly ) until gastrointestinal symptoms abate before starting oral therapy. The precipitating cause should be sought and, if possible, treated.

© 2008 Dr Kulsum Mehmood


Dr Kulsum Mehmood (author) from Nagpur, India on December 30, 2008:

Thank you Marlene.

Marlene F. from Richmond, Virginia on December 29, 2008:

Amazing information, You obviously did a lot of research!

Related Articles