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An adrenal crisis is a constellation of symptoms that arise as the result of a shortage of cortisol. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate hospital treatment. It's usual cause is Addison's Disease, either diagnosed or undiagnosed, but can be caused by any condition that affects the adrenal glands.

It is characterized by a sudden, sharp pain that can occur anywhere from the legs to the abdomen, confusion, psychosis, slurred speech, lethargy, convulsions, fever, hyperkalemia, hypercalcaemia, hypoglycemia, low sodium levels, low blood pressure, hypothyroidism, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and fainting.

Immediate support for patients is intravenous hydrocortisone and copious fluids until the patient is stabilized.

The condition is usually set off by extreme stress (which draws on cortisol) including trauma. Addison's patients should avoid all stressful activities and should not be far from immediate medical attention without carrying hydrocortisone.

Adrenal crisis at Wikipedia

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