Adrenal Insufficiency

  • Axel Heidenreich
  • Andrea ThissenEmail author


Adrenal insufficiency is a rare endocrine disorder, characterized by an inappropriate secretion of adrenal hormones. It can be caused either by adrenal failure (Addison’s disease, primary adrenal insufficiency) or by dysfunction of the integrity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (secondary adrenal insufficiency). Primary adrenal insufficiency occurs with an estimated prevalence of 93–140 per million and is less frequently diagnosed than secondary adrenal insufficiency (prevalence of 150–280 per million) [1]. In the developed world, primary adrenal insufficiency most frequently stems from autoimmune adrenalitis, whereas in the developing world, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis or cytomegalovirus play a substantial etiological role. Pituitary adenomas and its treatment (surgical removal or radiation therapy) present the main causes of secondary adrenal insufficiency.


Pituitary Adenoma Adrenal Insufficiency Inappropriate Secretion Adrenal Crisis Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Arlt W, Allolio B. Adrenal insufficiency. Lancet. 2003;361(9372):1881–93.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Schneider HJ, Aimaretti G, Kreitschmann-Andermahr I, Stalla G-K, Ghigo E. Hypopituitarism. Lancet. 2007;369(9571):1461–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Petersenn S, Quabbe H-J, Schöfl C, Stalla GK, von Werder K, Buchfelder M. The rational use of pituitary stimulation tests. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010;107(25):437–43.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Laws ER, Vance ML, Jane JA. Hypophysitis. Pituitary. 2006;9(4):331–3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kelestimur F. Sheehan’s syndrome. Pituitary. 2003;6(4):181–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    White K, Arlt W. Adrenal crisis in treated addison’s disease: a predictable but under-managed event. Eur J Endocrinol. 2010;162(1):115–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Arlt W. The approach to the adult with newly diagnosed adrenal insufficiency. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009;94(4):1059–67.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of UrologyRWTH University AachenAachenGermany

Personalised recommendations