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Claire J
Claire J

Q: What disease is related to adrenal insufficiency?

Q: What disease is related to adrenal insufficiency?

2/22/2017 8:00:00 AM   |   Comments: 0   |   Views: 99

(A). Celiac sprue
(B). Addison’s disease
(C). Cushing's syndrome

Before we dive into the details, what is “adrenal?” You may have heard about it, but there are so many organs in the body. Here are some definitions from StudentRDH Dental Hygiene Board Exam Review course for the NBDHE/NDHCE.

The adrenal glands are small, triangular glands located on top of both kidneys and produce hormones important to all parts of the body. Each adrenal gland is composed of “inside” and “outside” layers:

  • Outer organ (adrenal cortex): secretes corticosteroid and aldosterone that regulate the level of sodium and potassium, maintain blood volume, and blood pressure.
  • Inner organ (adrenal medulla): produces epinephrine (also called adrenaline) and norepinephrine to help the body respond to a stressful situation by increasing the heart rate and the force of heart contractions.

When there is a (primary) adrenal insufficiency, it is called Addison's disease. The condition produces signs and symptoms that are related to a deficiency in aldosterone and cortisol. The most common complaints are weakness, fatigue, and abdominal pigmentation of the skin and mucous membranes. Hypotension, anorexia, and weight loss are additional common findings.

Answer: (B). Addison’s disease

Cushing's syndrome, on the other hand, is related to the most common form of hyperadrenalism. Symptoms include weight gain, fatty tissue deposits in the face and body creating a “moon face” and “buffalo hump.”

As you can see from those conditions, chemicals from the adrenal glands are extremely important to support our body system.

Now the concern we have all the time, how are we going to memorize this for the dental hygiene board exams (NBDHE, NDHE)? First of all, StudentRDH has a fantastic chapter on Medical Conditions for the National Dental Hygiene Board Exams (NDBHE, NDHCE). But regardless, I would like to share how I memorize it. Imagine a skinny friend, her name is Allison (Addison). She is super skinny, therefore weak. She also has some big freckles (pigmentations) on her face that makes her cute. Now see the word “Cushing,” do you see “cushion” in it? Like a big fat fluffy cushion? Put that cushion on your back to make a buffalo hump. At least with this, we can memorize the signs and symptoms related to adrenal insufficiency and over secretion.

Celiac sprue, also known as celiac disease or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is a chronic disorder of the digestive tract that results in an inability to tolerate gliadin, the alcohol-soluble fraction of gluten. Gluten is a protein commonly found in wheat, rye, and barley. When patients with celiac sprue ingest gliadin, an immunologically mediated inflammatory response occurs that damages the mucosa of their intestines, resulting in maldigestion and malabsorption of food nutrients.

Feel free to contact me at I am always here to connect with potential users of StudentRDH!

Mini Boards Reviews for the National + Local Anesthesia Dental Hygiene Boards. Weekly Sample Questions at Find COMPLETE review courses too. “I wish I did not spend money on other review courses!” – Bethany, Bergen CC, March 2016
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