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Feature Article

Adrenal insufficiency: a timely diagnosis and treatment plan count

MARK S. COOPER

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Abstract

Typical features of adrenal insufficiency can be nonspecific and the diagnosis is often missed or delayed. Prompt treatment, both in the acute setting and long term, is required to avoid a potentially catastrophic adrenal crisis.

Key Points

  • Adrenal crises are common in people with adrenal insufficiency and the effects can be catastrophic.
  • Early administration of parenteral hydrocortisone is a crucial part of the management of patients undergoing a crisis.
  • Healthcare providers are often too slow to give parenteral hydrocortisone because of inappropriate concerns regarding the risks of glucocorticoid use.
  • Education and empowerment of individuals with adrenal insufficiency is key to long-term management.

    Picture credit: © China Face/iStockphoto.com. Model used for illustrative purposes only.

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