Which clinical history findings are characteristic of pediatric adrenal insufficiency (Addison disease)?

Updated: Dec 03, 2020
  • Author: Kimberly Tafuri, DO; Chief Editor: Sasigarn A Bowden, MD  more...
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Patients with adrenal insufficiency (Addison disease) may have hypoglycemia, and most have hypotension. Orthostatic changes in blood pressure and pulse are cardinal signs of adrenal insufficiency. Symptoms of hypoglycemia are common in small children. Altered mental status, even without hypoglycemia, is common in affected patients with acute adrenal insufficiency.

In infants, acute adrenal insufficiency may occur in the context of serious illness (eg, sepsis), prolonged and difficult labor, or traumatic delivery. Tuberculosis (TB), meningococcemia, or any severe septicemia may also result in adrenal insufficiency. However, adrenal insufficiency may occur without concomitant illness when it is due to congenital adrenal hyperplasia or congenital adrenal hypoplasia.

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