Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Adults

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Adults Explained

There are a number of endocrine disorders known under the name congenital adrenal hyperplasia adults. These disorders all have the same tendency to massively reduce the amount of cortisol the body produces by destroying the adrenal glands.

Since patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia are born with the condition, it affects the developmental process and can completely change the adulthood of people born with it. The issues that adults with congenital adrenal hyperplasia contend with on a daily basis are daunting, but there are many ways for them to strive for a better life.

The Differences in Hormones

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia adults: The markedly lower levels of cortisol found in people with congenital adrenal hyperplasia is one of the biggest differences found. Known for its role in stress and reducing inflammation, cortisol has many negative effects and positive ones as well. In children, cortisol can reduce development and even stunt growth altogether. In adults, high cortisol levels can lead to anxiety disorders and promote extremely high levels of inflammation in the body.

Many autoimmune diseases and psychiatric conditions are characterized by a lack of cortisol.

The adrenal glands are an important part of the axis of the endocrine system. A reduction in hormone production in the adrenal system often means that the other endocrine glands will show abnormal activity as well. For adult patients this often means an increase in the production of male sex hormones, such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone.

The increased levels of male sex hormones often has serious effects on both male and female patients in everything from physical appearance to life expectancy.

Why these Differences Matter

The hormonal abnormalities observed in people with congenital adrenal hyperplasia are far from benign. Some of the most obvious examples of the impact is in the physical appearance and function of patients. Men with congenital adrenal hyperplasia tend to have greater muscle mass, higher fertility, and lower levels of body fat when compared to other men. Women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia also tend to have higher levels of male sex hormones and this can radically change their bodies.

Female patients often tend to possess abnormal features such as excessive body hair or enlarged clitorises. Some women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia are considered intersex because of their condition.

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia adults: Can also have serious effects on the health and life expectancy of patients. Cortisol secretion is important for coping with various forms of stress. Without cortisol you can actually die from a traumatic event.

Differences such as these force people with congenital adrenal hyperplasia to make serious adjustments to the way they live their lives. Many patients must take medication to constantly replace their lack of vital hormones. This often produces many unwanted side effects for them to contend with.

Treatment for Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

There is no way to cure congenital adrenal hyperplasia, so patients are forced to take supplements to correct hormonal imbalances in their bodies. The most frequently used medications are glucocorticosteroids. Glucocorticosteroids compensate for the lack of cortisol production in the body, but they frequently cause undesirable side effects such as impairment of the immune system.

Most adults with congenital adrenal hyperplasia suffer from imbalances in their salt and sex hormone levels as well. Doctors will frequently require their patients to consume higher levels of salt or undergo sex hormone replacement therapy to correct these issues.

Just like glucocorticosteroids often have serious effects on patients, they may also experience problems from the replacement therapy. The endocrine system is designed to allow only a specific amount of sex hormone secretion in the body. When this level is exceeded, patients may see the endocrine system shut down entirely.

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Adults Life Expectancy

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia adults: Adulthood for victims of congenital adrenal hyperplasia often results in a normal life with the right measures taken. Without medication, they can easily waste away from dehydration and vomiting.

Medication can allow them to live much longer lives, but it will not correct every single issue. The disrupted development experienced in childhood will change how they have to live as adults. It's incredibly important for patients to visit a doctor on a regular basis to keep up with everything they need.

If patients are responsible with their health, they can live as long as anyone else.

Last Reviewed:
July 17, 2017
Last Updated:
October 25, 2017
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