Adrenal insufficiency is relatively rare in childhood and adolescence. Signs and symptoms may be nonspecific; therefore, the diagnosis may not be suspected early in the course. If unrecognized, adrenal insufficiency may present with life-threatening cardiovascular collapse. Adrenal crisis continues to occur in children with known primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency during intercurrent illness because of failure to increase glucocorticoid dosage. In this article, current knowledge of the incidence, diagnosis, and treatment of adrenal insufficiency in children and factors precipitating adrenal crisis are summarized. Suggestions for prevention of adrenal crisis in patients at risk are provided for health care professionals and families.

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