Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)


Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is an inherited condition that affects the body's adrenal glands, which are the cone-shaped organs that sit on top of the kidneys. In a person with CAH, the adrenal glands are very large and are unable to produce certain chemicals, including cortisol, a chemical that helps protect the body during stress or illness and helps the body regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. Left untreated, the adrenal glands produce too much of chemicals called androgen, which produce male sex traits. The signs of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) vary from person to person and by the form of CAH. There are three main forms of CAH: the “salt-wasting form," the “simple virilizing form," and non-classic CAH. Salt-wasting classic CAH accounts for about 75% of classic CAH cases. This is the most severe form. The simple virilizing type of classic CAH accounts for about 25% of classic CAH cases. This form is less severe than salt-wasting CAH, but more severe than non-classic CAH. Signs of simple virilizing and salt wasting CAH begin before birth. These signs differ between males and females. Early detection and treatment can help children with CAH to have healthy development.

For more information about congenital adrenal hyperplasia, see the Parent Handbook: Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia in the Newborn (PDF). Support groups are available on our Information and Resources for Families page to help connect families living with CAH with others who have experience or expertise with this condition.

A listing of contact information for Minnesota endocrinologists and other providers/clinics serving children affected with or undergoing evaluation for conditions that can be detected through Minnesota newborn screening is available upon request.

I'm Growing with CAH!

A children's book made for children growing up with CAH.

...I am meeting with his pre-school teacher next week before school starts, and I will show her the book to help me explain CAH!"

Read the book online or print at home (PDF)

Keep learning and having fun with coloring pages and other activities:

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Check out these cool kids!

Ann reading with Ashley Ann, a child life specialist, reading with Ashley.

Gabriel reads his book in clinic! Gabriel reading

Shaelyn reading Shaelyn reads her book at home!

Take it with you on the go! Young Girl in a stroller taking the book  on the go

Young boy sharing the book

Would you like to share a photo of your child using the book? Send it to us, with a signed photo release form (PDF)!