Adrenal fatigue is a term applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive problems. Your adrenal glands produce a variety of hormones that are essential to life.
Is adrenal failure fatal?
Adrenal crisis is a serious condition that can cause death in people who lack the pituitary hormone ACTH. Having too little cortisol can be fatal if not properly treated.
Adrenal crisis is a serious condition that can cause death in people who lack the pituitary hormone ACTH. ACTH is responsible for regulating the adrenal gland. Having too little cortisol can be fatal if not properly treated.
Symptoms of adrenal cancer that produces excess cortisol and aldosterone in adults can include:
- high blood pressure.
- high blood sugar.
- weight gain.
- irregular periods.
- easy bruising.
- frequent urination.
- muscle cramps.
Like many medical doctors, he says adrenal fatigue doesn't exist: “It's something made up by naturopathic doctors; endocrinologists don't recognize it as a real condition.” However, adrenal fatigue is essentially a stress reaction, and stress is very well understood as a cause of illness.”
- Surgery to remove tumors in the adrenal gland or, when appropriate, surgery to remove the one or both of the adrenal glands.
- Minimally invasive surgery performed through the nostrils to remove tumors in the pituitary gland.
- Medication to stop the excess production of hormones.
- Hormone replacement.
The symptoms of adrenal fatigue are said to include:
- Trouble getting to sleep and waking up.
- Craving salt and sugar.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Reliance on stimulants such as caffeine.
- Loss of body hair.
- Skin discoloration.
Addison's disease itself can't be prevented. However, it's possible to prevent Addisonian crises, or medical emergencies caused by untreated Addison's disease. By taking prescribed medications every day and increasing dosage during times of stress or illness, Addison's disease can be kept under control.
Common symptoms of Cushing's syndrome (due to an adrenal, pituitary, or ectopic tumor) can include:
- Upper body obesity, round face and neck, and thinning arms and legs.
- Skin problems, such as acne or reddish-blue streaks on the abdomen or underarm area.
- High blood pressure.
- Muscle and bone weakness.
Another cause of secondary adrenal insufficiency is surgical removal of the usually noncancerous, ACTH-producing tumors of the pituitary gland that cause Cushing's syndrome. Cushing's syndrome is a hormonal disorder caused by prolonged exposure of the body's tissues to high levels of the hormone cortisol.
Low levels of cortisol can cause weakness, fatigue, and low blood pressure. You may have more symptoms if you have untreated Addison's disease or damaged adrenal glands due to severe stress, such as from a car accident or an infection. These symptoms include sudden dizziness, vomiting, and even loss of consciousness.
ACTH Stimulation Test: This is the most specific test for diagnosing adrenal insufficiency. Blood cortisol levels are measured before and after a synthetic form of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), a hormone secreted from the anterior pituitary, is given by injection.
Cortisol also helps regulate your metabolism, sugar levels, and blood pressure. Your adrenal glands are controlled by your pituitary gland, another part of your endocrine system. Located in your head, your pituitary gland is the main controller of your endocrine glands.
Blood test. Measuring your blood levels of sodium, potassium, cortisol and ACTH gives your doctor an initial indication of whether adrenal insufficiency may be causing your signs and symptoms. A blood test can also measure antibodies associated with autoimmune Addison's disease. ACTH stimulation test.
Meeting a Disability Listing. Addison's disease is considered under the disability listing for endocrine disorders because it is a type of adrenal gland disorder. The listing for endocrine disorders is a bit different than other disability listings that include specific impairment requirements to qualify for disability
In fact, most people with Addison's disease live pretty normal, active lives. However, if it's left untreated, Addison's disease can be life-threatening. A stressful event like injury or illness may cause sudden worsening of symptoms, which can lead to severe dehydration and fatally low blood pressure.
People with Addison's disease must be constantly aware of the risk of a sudden worsening of symptoms, called an adrenal crisis. This can happen when the levels of cortisol in your body fall significantly. An adrenal crisis is a medical emergency. If left untreated, it can be fatal.
The adrenal cortex—the outer part of the gland—produces hormones that are vital to life, such as cortisol (which helps regulate metabolism and helps your body respond to stress) and aldosterone (which helps control blood pressure).
In acute adrenal failure (addisonian crisis), the signs and symptoms may also include:
- Pain in your lower back, abdomen or legs.
- Severe vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration.
- Low blood pressure.
- Loss of consciousness.
- High potassium (hyperkalemia) and low sodium (hyponatremia)
Unlike adrenal fatigue, this is a recognized disease that can be diagnosed. Adrenal insufficiency is diagnosed with a blood test that checks to see if your cortisol levels are too low. If you have it, you'll need to take a hormone replacement.
The adrenal glands are small glands located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones that you can't live without, including sex hormones and cortisol. Cortisol helps you respond to stress and has many other important functions. With adrenal gland disorders, your glands make too much or not enough hormones.
Addison's disease is basically the opposite of Cushing's disease: underproduction of cortisol in the body. Common symptoms are lethargy, weakness, depression, weight loss, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, drinking more, urinating more, shaking and dehydration.