Adrenal cortical hypofunctions

Adrenal Cortical Hypofunction:

Adrenal cortical hypofunction, or adrenal insufficiency, is a disorder of the adrenal gland in which it is unable to produce enough of its hormones. This condition is most often caused by autoimmune destruction of the adrenal glands, but can also be caused by an infection or an underlying genetic disorder. Symptoms of this condition include fatigue, weight loss, muscle weakness, and low blood pressure.

The hormones produced by the adrenal gland are essential for life. Without enough of them, the body cannot properly regulate metabolism, respond to stress, and maintain the immune system. Treatment of adrenal cortical hypofunction usually requires hormone replacement therapy.

Causes of Adrenal Cortical Hypofunction

  • Autoimmune destruction of the adrenal gland
  • Infectious or parasitic illness affecting the adrenal gland
  • Review cancer
  • Tumors in the adrenal gland
  • Genetic disorders such as Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)


The symptoms of adrenal cortical hypofunction depend on the type and severity of the underlying cause. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Hyperpigmentation of the skin (due to increased production of the pigment melanin)
  • Loss of body hair
  • Depression
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Salt cravings

Diagnosis and Treatment

If adrenal cortical hypofunction is suspected, the doctor will typically order blood tests to measure the levels of hormones normally produced by the adrenal cortex. Imaging studies such as CT or MRI scans may also be used to rule out any tumors or other structural abnormalities.

Treatment for adrenal cortical hypofunction depends on the underlying cause. In cases of autoimmune destruction, corticosteroids such as prednisone are typically prescribed to reduce inflammation and limit further damage. In cases of infection or tumors, the appropriate medications and/or surgical treatments may be recommended. Lastly, in cases of congenital adrenal hyperplasia, hormone replacement therapy is necessary.