This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Adrenal insufficiency is an endocrine disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough of certain hormones. Secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs when the pituitary gland (a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain) fails to produce enough adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), a hormone that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce the hormone cortisol. The lack of these hormones in the body can be caused by reduction or cessation of corticosteroid medication, the surgical removal of pituitary tumors, or changes in the pituitary gland. Symptoms of secondary adrenal insufficiency may include severe fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, irritability, and depression. Treatment includes replacing the hormones that the adrenal glands are not making. The dose of each medication is adjusted to meet the needs of each affected individual.
For more information, visit GARD.