Blog | ब्लॉग | مدونة او مذكرة | Blog | بلاگ

Acute adrenal crisis: A life-threatening condition that can occur if the body is stressed by surgery and unable to produce enough cortisol
General Surgery / Feb 25th, 2024 3:16 pm     A+ | a-
Acute adrenal crisis: A life-threatening condition that can occur if the body is stressed by surgery and unable to produce enough cortisol


Acute adrenal crisis, also known as Addisonian crisis, is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body is stressed and unable to produce enough cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, located on top of each kidney. It plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, including metabolism, immune response, and stress management. Inadequate cortisol production can lead to a range of symptoms and complications, making it essential to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment of acute adrenal crisis.

Acute adrenal crisis: A life-threatening condition that can occur if the body is stressed by surgery and unable to produce enough cortisol

Causes of Acute Adrenal Crisis

Acute adrenal crisis typically occurs in individuals with Addison's disease, a condition characterized by the adrenal glands not producing enough cortisol. However, it can also occur in people with normal adrenal function under severe stress, such as surgery, trauma, or infection. The body's increased demand for cortisol during these stressful situations can overwhelm the adrenal glands, leading to a crisis.

Other causes of acute adrenal crisis include sudden withdrawal of corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, which can suppress the adrenal glands' function. Additionally, adrenal hemorrhage, infections such as meningococcemia, and pituitary gland disorders can also trigger acute adrenal crisis.

Symptoms of Acute Adrenal Crisis

The symptoms of acute adrenal crisis can vary but often include:
Severe Fatigue:

Individuals may experience extreme tiredness and weakness, making it difficult to carry out daily activities.

Abdominal Pain:

Pain in the abdomen, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, can occur.

Low Blood Pressure:

Hypotension is a common symptom, leading to dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting.


Mental confusion and even loss of consciousness can occur in severe cases.


Darkening of the skin, particularly in areas exposed to the sun, can be a sign of adrenal insufficiency.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing acute adrenal crisis typically involves a physical examination, blood tests to measure cortisol levels, and imaging tests, such as CT scans, to assess the adrenal glands' function. Prompt treatment is crucial to prevent complications and may include:

Fluid Replacement:

Intravenous fluids are administered to correct dehydration and maintain blood pressure.
Corticosteroid Therapy:

Intravenous or oral corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone, are given to replace deficient cortisol.
Management of Underlying Cause:

Treating the underlying cause of acute adrenal crisis, such as infection or trauma, is essential.


Close monitoring of vital signs, blood glucose levels, and electrolyte balance is necessary to prevent complications.

Prevention of Acute Adrenal Crisis

Preventing acute adrenal crisis involves managing Addison's disease or other conditions that can lead to adrenal insufficiency. This includes:

Medication Adherence:

Taking prescribed corticosteroid medications as directed to maintain adequate cortisol levels.
Stress Management:

Managing stress through relaxation techniques, counseling, and lifestyle modifications.
Medical Alert Bracelet:

Wearing a medical alert bracelet to inform healthcare providers of the condition in case of emergency.


Acute adrenal crisis is a serious medical condition that requires immediate attention and treatment. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options can help individuals with adrenal insufficiency manage their condition effectively. By maintaining regular medical follow-ups, adhering to medication regimens, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, individuals can reduce the risk of acute adrenal crisis and lead a fulfilling life despite their condition.
Dr. Abhishek Sharma
Feb 27th, 2024 4:35 pm
Acute adrenal crisis demands urgent medical intervention. Awareness of its causes, symptoms, and treatment empowers individuals with adrenal insufficiency to manage effectively. Regular medical check-ups, medication adherence, and healthy lifestyle choices mitigate the risk, enabling fulfilling lives.

Leave a Comment
Play CAPTCHA Audio
Refresh Image
* - Required fields
Older Post Home Newer Post

In case of any problem in viewing Hindi Blog please contact | RSS

World Laparoscopy Hospital
Cyber City
Gurugram, NCR Delhi, 122002

All Enquiries

Tel: +91 124 2351555, +91 9811416838, +91 9811912768, +91 9999677788

Need Help? Chat with us
Click one of our representatives below
Hospital Representative
I'm Online