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Adrenal Insufficiency in the Term and Preterm Neonate

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The adrenal gland is part of the endocrine system and produces hormones that are essential for survival. The adrenal cortex, the largest part of the adrenal gland, produces three major hormones. Glucocorticoids regulate metabolism of glucose, protein, and fat and allow the body to respond to stress by increasing blood glucose levels and cardiac output. Mineralocorticoids regulate fluid and electrolyte balance and help maintain blood pressure. Androgens are responsible for sexual differentiation in the fetus.

Insufficient production of these hormones can occur for many reasons and can have a profound effect on the newborn. It is important for neonatal nurses to be familiar with signs and symptoms and appropriate treatment of adrenal insufficiency. This article explores causes, signs and symptoms, and treatment of adrenal insufficiency in the newborn.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 1999

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