The atrophy or destruction of the adrenal cortices is typical of Addison's disease. This can result in adrenocortical insufficiency. Addison's disease has a slow onset and is characterized by fatigue, muscle wasting, hair loss, hypotension, melanin hyper pigmentation of the skin and mucous membranes (resulting in darker areas of skin at points of friction), nausea, vomiting and even diarrohhea.
Causes of Addison's Disease or adrenocortical insufficiency include tuberculosis, autoimmune disease and prolonged use of cortisone therapy. Adrenal insufficiency is treated with cortisone replacements.
Occasionally, if a patient is under stress (due to example trauma, surgery or infection) acute adrenal failure (Addison's crisis) may occur. In crisis the patient's symptoms are greatly intensified with abdominal pain and severe vomiting leading to acute fluid loss and exacerbation of the symptoms.
The patient becomes increasingly lethargic until comatosed with severe hypotension. Hypovolemic shock follows and without treatment the outcome could be fatal.
Additional medical conditions: