Adrenal crisis is a life-threatening condition. It is caused by the anterior pituitary gland not making enough adrenal hormone. Adrenal hormone is also called cortisol.

Pituitary Gland
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Adrenal Glands
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Adrenal crisis may be caused by:

  • Rapid withdrawal from steroid therapy
  • Sepsis—a bloodstream infection
  • Surgical stress
  • Adrenal apoplexy, infarction, or surgical removal—bleeding into the adrenal glands
  • Pituitary necrosis—damage to pituitary tissue from hemorrhage, infarction, surgery, or trauma
  • Thyroid hormone replacement in someone with adrenal insufficiency