Endocrinology and metabolism (Seoul, Korea) 2017 02 28()
Adrenal insufficiency (AI) is a life-threatening disorder caused by the deficiency of adrenal steroid hormones. This retrospective cross-sectional study investigated the characteristics of patients with AI in Korea.
All consecutive patients with suspected AI who received care at a tertiary referral center in Korea in 2014 and underwent adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulation or insulin-tolerance testing were identified through a review of medical charts. Patients diagnosed with AI were enrolled. Their demographic, clinical, and treatment details were extracted.
Of 771 patients with suspected AI, 183 (23.7%) received a definitive diagnosis. The most common reason for testing was the presence of suspicious AI-related symptoms (30.0%), followed by a history of steroid medications (23.5%). Their mean age was 66.7 years, and females predominated (67.8%). The most common symptoms were general weakness, anorexia, arthralgia, and fever. Approximately half (53.6%) had a history of steroid use. Hydrocortisone was the most common treatment (71.6%), with most patients taking a 30 mg dose (44.2%). The most common dose frequency was twice a day (78.6%). Fourteen patients were treated for adrenal crisis (n=10, 5.5%) or an intercurrent illness (n=4, 2.2%).
AI may have been caused by steroid medication use in many of the patients included in this study. The detection of AI can be improved by careful history-taking and being alert to the possibility that a patient has used steroids.