Patients with adrenal insufficiency require regular, specialised monitoring in order to optimise their replacement therapy, to detect signs of under- and over-dosage, and to examine for possible associated disorders (auto-immune disorders in the case of auto-immune primary adrenal insufficiency either isolated or as part of auto-immune polyendocrinopathy syndrome type 1; illnesses with underlying monogenic causes). The transition period between adolescence and adulthood represents an added risk of a breakdown in monitoring which requires particular attention from medical teams and coordination between adult and pediatric medical teams. It is essential to encourage patient autonomy in the management of their illness, notably their participation in treatment education programs, in particular programs that target avoidance of, or early treatment of acute adrenal insufficiency. The principal educational objectives for patients in such programs are: to be in possession of, and carry the necessary tools for their treatment in an emergency; to be able to identify situations of increased risk and the early signs of adrenal crisis; to know how to adjust their oral glucocorticoid treatment; to be capable of administering hydrocortisone by subcutaneous injection; to be able to predict and therefore adjust treatment to different situations (heat, physical exercise, travel) and to be able to correctly use the appropriate resources of the healthcare services. Other programs could also be developed to respond to needs and expectations of patients, notably concerning the adjustment of hydrocortisone dosage to avoid overdose in the context of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Keywords: Addison's disease; Adrenal crisis; Adult; Adulte; Auto-immune polyendocrinopathy; Children; Complications; Consensus; Corticotropin deficiency; Enfant; Insuffisance corticotrope; Insuffisance surrénale aiguë; Maladie d’Addison; Monitoring; Patient education program; Polyendocrinopathie auto-immune; Prevention; Prévention; Quality of life; Qualité de vie; Éducation thérapeutique.
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