Acute Adrenal Crisis
Alternate Names : Acute Adrenal Insufficiency, Acute Hypoadrenalism
An acute adrenal crisis occurs when the adrenal glands
suddenly stop working as they should.
What is going on in the body?
There are two adrenal glands in the body, one on top of each
kidney. The outer part of each adrenal gland secretes key hormones.
These hormones are called corticosteroids, which most people refer to
as steroids. Steroids are needed for the body's metabolism
and healthy functioning.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
For an adrenal crisis to happen, both adrenal glands must
stop working well. Reasons why this may occur include the following:
bleeding into both adrenal glands
cancer that destroys both adrenal glands
infections of both adrenal glands
People can also have an adrenal crisis when they suddenly
stop taking steroid medicines, such as prednisone. When a person
takes steroid medicines for more than a week, the adrenal glands
become used to not having to make their own steroids, so they stop
working as actively. If the person then suddenly stops taking steroids,
the adrenal glands may not be able to start making their own quickly enough
to maintain healthy functioning of the body. This is particularly true if the body is
Stress can result from an illness, surgery, or other problem.