Acute adrenal insufficiency

Etiology

Primary adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease)

  • Autoimmune
  • Surgical removal or trauma
  • Infection, e.g., tuberculosis, histoplasmosis
  • Adrenal hemorrhage
  • Metastatic cancer
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy
  • Hemochromatosis or amyloidosis
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia

Secondary adrenal insufficiency

  • Pituitary failure (atrophy, necrosis, tumor)
  • Exogenous steroids

DDx

  • Other types of shock, e.g., septic, cardiogenic, hypovolemic, anaphylactic
  • Hyperkalemia due to other causes, e.g., renal failure, rhabdomyolysis
  • Hyponatremia due to other causes, e.g., SIADH, cirrhosis, vomiting
  • Abdominal pain due to other causes

See related DDx

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Last updated: January 14, 2015