Acute adrenal crisis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when there is not enough cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. The two adrenal glands are located on top of the kidneys. They consist of the outer portion, called the cortex, and the inner portion, called the medulla. The cortex produces three types of hormones, all of which are called corticosteroids.
Cortisol is a glucocorticoid -- a corticosteroid that:
Helps regulate blood sugar (glucose)
Holds back the immune response
Is released as part of the body's response to stress
In adrenal crisis, patients need an immediate injection of hydrocortisone through a vein (intravenous) or muscle (intramuscular). You may receive intravenous fluids if you have low blood pressure. You will need to go to the hospital for treatment and monitoring. If infection caused the crisis, you may need antibiotic therapy.