CAH, or congenital adrenal hyperplasia, is a genetic condition of the adrenal glands. It is potentially life-threatening. If you become ill with vomiting or a very high temperature, seek medical help immediately. About one in 10,000 to 18,000 children is born with it. Someone with CAH will not be able to produce vital hormones called corticosteriods. It's treated with hormone replacement using Cortef and Florinef. It is a form of adrenal insufficiency. When exercising or doing anything else strenuous or stressful, you may have to take extra medicine, and certainly drink more water.

People with CAH have to make regular visits with an endocrinologist, who tells them how much medicine to take and what other things to do to make it easier on you. If you have any questions regarding what you should and shouldn't do, talk to them.

The child will be diagnosed depending on its sex. In females, the clitoris will be enlarged, with the urethral opening at the base. Internal things such as ovaries and fallopian tubes are normal. As the girl grows older, facial hair may appear, and she may not menstruate at puberty.

If the child is male, no obvious symptoms will be found at birth, but as he grows, he will start to become muscular, his penis will enlarge, pubic hair will become present, and his voice will deepen. At puberty, his testes will be small. Boys with CAH will enter "puberty" as young as two to three years old.

Some forms of CAH are more severe. They can cause adrenal crisis in the newborn baby, due to salt wasting. In this form of the condition, symptoms occur shortly after the infant is born. The symptoms include vomiting, an arrhythmic heart, dehydration, and electrolyte changes. This version can lead to death one to six weeks after birth.

As a person with the condition, I can say that it doesn't affect me much, other than having to drink more water and take some pills every day. Nobody can outwardly tell if you have it unless you tell them. The only thing you really have to worry about is forgetting to take your medicine, or, if you have to evacuate your house for any reason, not taking it. You should always carry a MedicAlert thing with you, or some other form of identification.

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