Because the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency progress slowly, they are usually ignored until a stressful event like an illness or an accident causes them to become worse. This is called an addisonian crisis, or acute adrenal insufficiency. In most cases, symptoms are severe enough that people seek medical treatment before a crisis occurs. However, in about 25 percent of people, symptoms first appear during an addisonian crisis.
An addisonian crisis can cause life-threatening complications unless immediate treatment is provided.
Taking medications is a critical part of adrenal insufficiency treatment. It is also important for people to understand their disease and situations that can affect their hormone levels. For more information about living with adrenal insufficiency, see any of the following eMedTV articles:
- Adrenal Insufficiency and Pregnancy
- Adrenal Insufficiency and Surgery
- Living With Adrenal Insufficiency.