911! Adrenal Crisis, Addison's/Adrenal InsufficiencyNEW!Podcast: Adrenal Crisis
Be sure to print this page to carry with you.Health Alert: Adrenal Crisis Causes Death in Some People Who Were Treated With hGH
Recently, doctors conducting the follow-up study of individuals treated with hGH looked at causes of death among recipients and found some disturbing news. Many more people have died from a treatable condition called adrenal crisis than from CJD. This risk does not affect every recipient. It can affect those who lack other hormones in addition to growth hormone. Please read on to find out if this risk applies to you. Death from adrenal crisis can be prevented.
Adrenal crisis is a serious condition that can cause death in people who lack the pituitary hormone ACTH. ACTH is responsible for regulating the adrenal gland. Often, people are unaware that they lack this hormone and therefore do not know about their risk of adrenal crisis.
Most people who were treated with hGH did not make enough of their own growth hormone. Some of them lacked growth hormone because they had birth defects, tumors or other diseases that cause the pituitary gland to malfunction or shut down. People with those problems frequently lack other key hormones made by the pituitary gland, such as ACTH, which directs the adrenal gland to make cortisol, a hormone necessary for life. Having too little cortisol can be fatal if not properly treated.
Treatment with hGH does not cause adrenal crisis, but because a number of people lacking growth hormone also lack ACTH, adrenal crisis has occurred in some people who were treated with hGH. In earlier updates we have talked about how adrenal crisis can be prevented, but people continue to die from adrenal crisis, which is brought on by lack of cortisol. These deaths can be prevented. Please talk to your doctor about whether you are at risk for adrenal crisis.
- Why should people treated with hGH know about adrenal crisis? Among the people who received hGH, those who had birth defects, tumors, and other diseases affecting the brain lacked hGH and often, other hormones made by the pituitary gland. A shortage of the hormones that regulate the adrenal glands can cause many health problems. It can also lead to death from adrenal crisis. This tragedy can be prevented.
- What are adrenal hormones? The pituitary gland makes many hormones, including growth hormone and ACTH, a hormone which signals the adrenal glands to make cortisol, a hormone needed for life. If the adrenal gland doesn't make enough cortisol, replacement medications must be taken. The most common medicines used for cortisol replacement are:
- What is adrenal crisis? Adrenal hormones are needed for life. The system that pumps blood through the body cannot work during times of physical stress, such as illness or injury, if there is a severe lack of cortisol (or its replacement). People who lack cortisol must take their cortisol replacement medication on a regular basis, and when they are sick or injured, they must take extra cortisol replacement to prevent adrenal crisis. When there is not enough cortisol, adrenal crisis can occur and may rapidly lead to death.
- What are the symptoms of lack of adrenal hormones? If you don't have enough cortisol or its replacement, you may have some of these problems:
- feeling weak
- feeling tired all the time
- feeling sick to your stomach
- no appetite
- weight loss
• Why are adrenal hormones so important? Cortisol (or its replacement) helps the body respond to stress from infection, injury, or surgery. The normal adrenal gland responds to serious illness by making up to 10 times more cortisol than it usually makes. It automatically makes as much as the body needs. If you are taking a cortisol replacement drug because your body cannot make these hormones, you must increase the cortisol replacement drugs during times of illness, injury, or surgery. Some people make enough cortisol for times when they feel well, but not enough to meet greater needs when they are ill or injured. Those people might not need cortisol replacement every day but may need to take cortisol replacement medication when their body is under stress. Adrenal crisis is extremely serious and can cause death if not treated promptly. Discuss this problem with your doctor to help decide whether you need more medication or other treatment to protect your health.
• How is adrenal crisis treated? People with adrenal crisis need immediate treatment. Any delay can cause death. When people with adrenal crisis are vomiting or unconscious and cannot take medicine, the hormones can be given as an injection. Getting an injection of adrenal hormones can save your life if you are in adrenal crisis. If you lack the ability to make cortisol naturally, you should carry a medical ID card and wear a Medic-Alert bracelet to tell emergency workers that you lack adrenal hormones and need treatment. This precaution can save your life if you are sick or injured.
• How can I prevent adrenal crisis?
• If you are always tired, feel weak, and have lost weight, ask your doctor if you might have a shortage of adrenal hormones.
• If you take hydrocortisone, prednisone, or dexamethasone, learn how to increase the dose when you become ill.
• If you are very ill, especially if you are vomiting and cannot take pills, seek emergency medical care immediately. Make sure you have a hydrocortisone injection with you at all times, and make sure that you and those around you (in case you're not conscious) know how and when to administer the injection.
• Carry a medical ID card and wear a bracelet telling emergency workers that you have adrenal insufficiency and need cortisol. This way, they can treat you right away if you are injured.
Remember: Some people who lacked growth hormone may also lack cortisol, a hormone necessary for life. Lack of cortisol can cause adrenal crisis, a preventable condition that can cause death if treated improperly .
Deaths from adrenal crisis can be prevented if patients and their families recognize the condition and are careful to treat it right away.
Adrenal crisis is a medical emergency. Know the symptoms and how to adjust your medication when you are ill. Taking these precautions can save your life.
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I WAS DEFINITELY DIAGNOSED WITH ADDISON'S DISEASE, ON THE 1ST OF THIS MONTH AND IT WAS CONFIRMED, BY MY ENDOCRINOLOGIST, DR. GASMANOV.
HE CONFIRMED HIS BELIEFS, THAT HE HAD WHEN I WAS THERE, ON THE 20TH OF LAST MONTH. I HAVE KNOWN, FOR @ A LITTLE OVER A WEEK NOW, BUT WHEN I RAN ACCROSS THIS SITE...IT SCARED ME. I NEVER REALLY LOOKED IT UP THAT MUCH, FOR I HAD FOUND THE ANSWER AND THE DOC WAS TREATING ME. NOW, I AM GREATFUL, BUT PRAYING THAT IT WILL BE CURRABLE.
HE HAD HIS SUSPISCIONS THEN...THAT ADDISON'S WAS THE ANSWER, BUT TOOK MORE BLOOD, FROM ME...JUST TO MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE, IT WAS THE ANSWER. IT CAME BACK POSITIVE...
HE IS SUPPOSE TO BE A VERY GOOD DOCTOR, SO...I NOW BELIEVE THAT HE HAS PUT THE FACE ON THIS "NIGHTMARE OF PAIN". THIS IS, WHAT HAS BEEN WRECKING MY LIFE ALL OF THIS TIME AND KEEPING ME DOWN.:(
AFTER READING THIS, I WAS TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY...BECAUSE, I NEVER KNEW OF THE SERIOUSNESS, OF IT. I HAVE BURNED,ITCHED, FELT STABBING, PIERCING,STINGING, CRAWLIING AND ANYKIND OF FEELING U WANT TO CALL IT, PAIN. IT CAN BE SO BAD...SOMETIMES, THAT I CAN FEEL IT DOWN TO MY BONES EVEN, BUT NEVER REALLY KNEW...JUST HOW BAD THE CULPRIT WAS, UNTIL NOW..AS I READ IT.
BEING SO SICK, I HAVE ACTUALLY FELT LIKE I WAS DYING, AT TIMES. SO, FOR THE PAST 5 OR MORE YEARS, I HAVE ONLY GOTTEN WORSE AND BEEN STUCK HERE, IN THIS BED, BUT NOW...THEY KNOW OF WHAT THIS IS, THEY CAN WORK ON ME AND WITH UR PRAYERS...I WILL BE UP AGAIN.."LORD WILLING".:)
I KNOW, I NEED TO GET UP AND THERE IS NOTHING I WANT MORE, THAN TO DO THINGS AGAIN AND HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET THERE...FOR, WHAT SEEMS LIKE FOREVER. I HAVE RESEARCHED SO MANY THINGS AND ACTUALLY, FOUND THIS AND POSTED @ ADDISON'S ON MY OTHER SITE( FEEL 2 MUCH).
I HAVE PUSHED MYSELF, FOR SO LONG WITH THIS STUFF, BUT WITH MY BACK HERNIATIONS TOO, ON TOP OF THE ADDISON'S DISEASE...HAS ALMOST MADE IT, UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE TO DO ANYTHING OR FINISH IT. I WAS ALWAYS RAISED TO FINISH WHAT I STARTED, BUT WITH THIS, A PERSON CAN HARDLY EVEN START ANYTHING...PERIOD, MUCH LESS, FINISH IT!
UNFORTUNATELY, WITH "AD"...UR SO TIRED AND UR BODY FEELS LIKE IT IS DEPLETED OF ANY ENERGY, IT DID WHAT-SO-EVER HAVE, AT ONE TIME. SO, IT STOPS U, B4 U CAN GET ANYWHERE.
PEOPLE KNOW ME AND HOW, I USED TO ALWAYS WORK AND I AM SURE THAT THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A PERSON THAT WAS DRIVEN, A GO-GETTER AND WOULD HAVE TO HAVE A SOLID REASON,TO NOT DO ANYTHING. I CAN TELL U NOW, I WOULD NOT JUST RESIDE, IN A BED...WHEN THERE IS SO MUCH LIFE, OUT THERE TO LIVE.:D
SINCE, THIS ADDISON'S HAS HIT ME, I CAN TELL U THAT I AM NOT GOING VERY FAR AWAY...FROM THIS BED AND TO TELL THE TRUTH, I AM SO GREATFUL FOR IT, BECAUSE IT HAS HELPED ME LIVE...A LITTLE LONGER, I THINK.
THE GOOD DAYS, THAT ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN, I SPEND WITH THE ONES THAT I LOVE, BUT I DO TRY TO CLEAN UP MY HOUSE SOME...AS MUCH AS I CAN, THAT IS.
I MUST SAY, TRYING TO MAKE MY HOUSE LIVABLE, IS HARD FOR ME TO DO AND I AM GREATFUL TO MY HUBBY FOR THAT...WHO WORKS SO HARD, DOING WHAT HE WAS SO RIGHTLY TAUGHT BY HIS MOM. HE MIGHT WORK 14 OR 15 HOURS A DAY, AT HIS JOB...BUT WHEN, HE COMES HOME. HE WORKS HERE, AS WELL. I LOVE U, MY BABIES.:)
I CAN TELL U THIS TOO...IF, I DIDN'T HAVE MY MOM(or Bryan) FIXING ME SOMETHING TO EAT OR GETTING ME THIS OR DOING THAT FOR ME...I DON'T KNOW HOW, I WOULD HAVE MADE IT THROUGH THIS. I HATE FEELING LIKE A BURDEN, BUT MAYBE, IT WON'T BE FOR MUCH LONGER.:P
MY DAD IS THE ONE WHO IS CONSTANLY RUNNING THE ROADS, TAKING ME TO DOCS. HE HAS WORKED MIGHTY HARD TRAVELING TO THOSE DESTINATIONS, BUT I THANK HIM FOR TRYING SO HARD, TO GET ME WELL AND I LOVE EACH AND EVERYONE OF THEM.:D
I WANT TO SAY THAT MY SON, SHANE HAS ALSO PLAYED A ROLE HERE. HE AND I HAVE BEEN DOING A LOT OF TALKING AND IT HAS HELPED ME SO MUCH, TO BE IN TOUCH WITH HIM.
NOW...I KNOW, THIS COULD TAKE ME AWAY FROM HERE...AND I THINK OF HOW TRULY BLESSED, I AM TO HAVE GOTTEN A DIAGNOSIS, when I DID. I DO WISH, IT COULD'VE BEEN SOONER THOUGH, FOR I HAVE MISSED SO MANY IMPORTANT DATES AND THINGS, IN EVERYONE OF MY FAMILY'S LIVES...BUT, IT TAKES SO LONG, SOMETIMES...FOR, SOME THINGS TO SHOW UP. ALL I CAN SAY, IS THAT BEING DOWN AND HAVING TO DEPEND ON OTHERS, SURE WILL HUMBLE U, BUT THAT IS A GOOOD THING.:D
I HAVE BEEN VERY SICK, FOR SO LONG AND AM SO GLAD THAT THEY FOUND THE ANSWER, BUT...I KNOW, IT IS NOT OVER...JUST YET. ALSO, I DO KNOW, THERE COULD BE AN UNDERLYING ILLNESS LIKE...RA OR SARCOIDOSIS,ETC. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF THINGS, THAT CAN CO-RESIDE WITH ADRENAL INSUFFICIENCY. SO, I WILL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE, JUST WHAT ALL THE DOC FINDS, FROM MY BLOODWORK.
I SEEM TO HAVE EVERY SYSTEM AFFECTED, IN MY BODY...LIKE MY BONES AND JOINTS, MY VEINS AND SKIN...AND MY BACK...BUT, THE MAIN THING IS THAT I HAVE FAITH...AND I AM STILL FIGHTING, THE GOOD FIGHT AND...I AM ALIVE.
I JUST PRAY THAT I DO GET BETTER AND THE DOC OR DOCS, CAN JUST GET THINGS STABLIZED...AND ME, BACK TO ME.
U KNOW, ONE THING...WHEN THEY GET ME WELL...OR IF, THEY GET ME WELL...THAT IS....I AM GOING FISHING...WHEN THEY DO.:D<3 Karen