Adrenal hypofunction: symptoms and treatment

Hormones take part in the activities of absolutely all body systems. These substances are reflected in the course of metabolic processes, affect the growth of tissues and their development. An extremely complex condition is the hypofunction of the adrenal glands. Symptoms, signs of the disease and its treatment will be considered in this article.

The essence of the problem

hypofunction of the adrenal glands

Adrenal hypofunction leads to inadequate production of hormones that participate in the regulation of the functions of body cells. If their production is disturbed, you can see how the organs of the human body gradually cease to function normally.

Adrenals are paired organs. The latter are responsible for the production of hormones of several groups. What happens if the adrenal glands are not normal, hormones? Hypofunction and hyperfunction of the adrenal gland can lead to a deficiency or excess of cortisol, aldosterone, sex steroids in the blood. All this entails the appearance of serious violations in the body with negative consequences for a variety of organs and systems.

Adrenal hypofunction: forms of the disease

with adrenal hypofunction develops

There are several forms of the disease. The illness can be chronic or acute. In acute form of the disease a person periodically suffers from a whole mass of heavy conditions, the so-called addisonic crises. The individual has to fight with a decrease in vitality, disruptions in the work of internal organs.

Chronic hypofunction of the adrenal glands is divided into secondary and tertiary forms. The secondary form develops when the tissues of the adrenal glands are damaged. The phenomenon often affects the elderly. The tertiary form is less common and is formed with insufficient secretion of the hormone corticoliberin by the brain department - the hypothalamus, which subsequently causes a gradual atrophy of the adrenal glands.

Adrenal cortex hypofunction: symptoms of

adrenal hypofunction

The symptoms are characterized by the following symptoms:

  1. Changes in the color of the skin of the body to a darker shade. The severity of the problem for a particular individual can be different, based on the duration of the formation of the pathological process, as well as the form of the ailment. First of all, the darkening of the skin becomes clearly visible on the open areas of the body: hands, neck, face. In some cases, white spots known as "vitiligo" form on the body. On the gums, tongue, lips, other mucous membranes, brown spots may appear.
  2. With hypofunction of the adrenal glands, a general fatigue develops and muscle weakness grows. Later, the symptom is supplemented by a decrease in body weight.
  3. Low blood pressure.
  4. Digestive disorders. The hypofunction of the adrenal cortex can cause diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, regular attacks of nausea, pain in the abdomen.
  5. Nervous irritability, apathy, memory impairment, absent-mindedness, loss of concentration of attention.

Causes of

hypofunction of the adrenal cortex

Disease Hypofunction of the adrenal gland often develops against the background of incorrect autoimmune reactions of the body, during which adrenal tissue is destroyed. This cause leads to the appearance of the disease in about 98% of cases. However, in 1-2% of cases, hypofunction develops as a result of tuberculosis of the adrenal glands.

Poor heredity can also lead to the formation of a disease. This genetic disease, like adrenoleukodystrophy, causes defects in enzymes that are directly involved in the metabolism of fatty acids. With this hereditary pathology, fatty acids are concentrated in the white matter of the nervous system. In turn, this leads to serious dystrophic changes in the body.

What else can hypofunction of adrenal glands be caused? Diseases of the cardiovascular system, tumors of the pituitary gland - all this can become a catalyst for the disease.


How is adrenal hypofunction diagnosed? It is possible to suspect a disease in people who have complaints that correspond to the main symptoms of the disease. To be convinced of disappointing assumptions, the patient is referred for consultation to the endocrinologist. Further, based on the results of the examination, the doctor can refer the patient to the following tests:

  • blood test for hemoglobin;
  • glycemia - the detection of a decrease in sugar levels;
  • study of blood plasma electrolytes - detection of potassium concentration disturbance;
  • analysis of hormones - diagnosis of cortisol reduction;
  • special samples - Throne test, water load, glycemic profile.

In addition to carrying out the above analyzes, endocrinologists do not exclude the possibility of developing negative autoimmune processes, tuberculosis, which also often leads to hypofunction of the adrenal glands. To assess the condition of the adrenal glands, doctors often resort to tomography, ultrasound diagnosis of internal organs.

Treatment of

hypofunction of the adrenal cortex symptoms

Therapy in the development of adrenal hypofunction involves a lifelong replacement of the natural production of hormones by the intake of preparations containing corticosteroids. Treatment in the initial stages usually starts with an injection of hydrocortisone into the patient's body( intravenous or intramuscular).A significant improvement in the human condition with this action is a confirmation of the adequacy of the initial diagnosis. Later, when the patient's condition is stabilized, the latter is prescribed medications with mineral- and glucocordicoid content.

When adrenal hypofunction patients have to adhere to a strict diet. The diet is built on the use of increased amounts of high-calorie food. Obligatory are products saturated with proteins, fatty acids, vitamins. In this case, the amount of food salt in foods should not exceed 10 grams per day.

Patients suffering from adrenal hypofunction should avoid increased physical exertion, as well as stress, situations that can lead to moral upheavals. Also, we have to seriously limit ourselves in the use of sleeping pills and alcoholic beverages.

In the process of treatment, patients need to perform actions aimed at regulating body weight. People with hypofunction of the adrenal gland are recommended to maintain the level of potassium in the blood serum. You also need to periodically monitor blood pressure and take medications, which helps maintain its stable level.

Prognosis for adrenal hypofunction

hypofunction of the adrenal glands

With timely detection of the problem, correct diagnosis and competent implementation of hormone therapy, most people have a favorable course of the disease, with no noticeable negative effects on the body. The forecast in this case is determined by the success of eliminating the so-called crises.

In the case of development of concomitant infectious diseases, surgical operations, injuries, the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders, an immediate increase in the dose of drugs with the content of the hormones prescribed by the doctor is required.


adrenal hormones hypofunction and hyperfunction

Adrenal hypofunction is an extremely serious, fairly unpredictable disease, regardless of the speed and nature of the pathological processes in the body. To hope for a positive result of treatment, it is important to identify symptoms in advance, carry out qualitative diagnostics, and select appropriate preparations. If everything is done on time, you can choose that option of therapy that will allow a person to lead an absolutely normal way of life and enjoy every day he has lived.