versão impressa ISSN 0121-0793
The term adrenal insufficiency refers to the hypofunction of this gland. From the etiologic point of view it may be either primary or secondary. This insufficiency manifests as inadequate serum levels of cortisol and adrenal androgens in the secondary form and of these and mineralocorticoids in the primary one. Clinical manifestations are often nonspecific and, consequently, diagnosis may be difficult to establish and treatment may be delayed with increased morbidity and mortality. This article on adrenal insufficiency includes its definition, epidemiology, etiology, physiopathology, classification, clinical presentation, diagnostic criteria and treatment guidelines. Besides, some special situations like critically ill patients and pregnant women are given special consideration. Emphasis is done on a diagnostic algorithm to make it easier for general practitioners the approach to patients with this endocrine disorder.
Palavras-chave : addison's disease; adrenal insufficiency; cortisol.