Addison’s disease

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Overview

Addison’s disease is a disorder that occurs when your body insufficiently produces a certain amount of hormone produced by your adrenal glands. In Addison’s disease, your adrenal gland produces little cortisol, and often the level of aldosterone is also inadequate.

Also called adrenal insufficiency, Addison’s disease occurs in all ages and affects both sexes. Addison disease may threaten life.

The treatment of Addison’s Disease includes taking hormones to replace inadequate amounts of the adrenal gland to mimic the beneficial effects brought about by naturally produced hormones.

Symptoms

The symptoms of Addison’s disease usually progress slowly, often over several months,

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Darken your skin (hyperpigmentation)
  • Hypotension, even fainting
  • Salt craving
  • Hypoglycemia (hypoglycemia)
  • Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting
  • stomach ache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Irritability
  • depression
  • Loss of female hair or sexual dysfunction

Acute adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease)

However, occasionally, signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease may appear suddenly. In acute adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s syndrome), symptoms and symptoms,

  • Pain in the waist, abdomen, legs
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration
  • Low blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • High potassium (hyperkalemia) and low sodium (hyponatremia)

When going to see a doctor

If you have signs or symptoms commonly occurring in Addison’s disease patients, please consult your doctor as follows.

  • Dark parts of skin (hyperpigmentation)
  • Severe fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting,
  • abdominal pain
  • Mild or fainting
  • Salt craving
  • Muscle or joint pain

Your doctor can help you decide if Addison disease or other medical condition is causing these problems.

Causes

If your adrenal glands are damaged, the amount of hormone cortisol is insufficient, and it is often aldosterone, Addison’s disease develops. These glands are right above your kidneys. As part of your endocrine system, they produce hormones that instruct virtually all organs and tissues in the body.

Your adrenal glands consist of two sections. The inner surface (medulla) produces adrenaline-like hormones. The outer layer (cortex) produces a group of hormones called corticosteroids including glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids and androgens (androgens).

Among the hormones produced by the cortex, there are things indispensable to life such as glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids.

Glucocorticoid.

These hormones, including cortisol, affect your body’s ability to convert food fuels to energy, play a role in the inflammatory response of the immune system, and help the body react to stress.

Mineralocorticoids.

These hormones, including aldosterone, maintain the balance between sodium and potassium in the body to keep your blood pressure normal.

Androgen.

These male hormones are produced in small quantities by both adrenal glands of men and women. They cause male sexual development, affecting muscle mass, libido, and the health of both men and women.

Primary adrenal insufficiency

Addison’s disease develops when the cortex is damaged and does not produce a sufficient amount of hormone. A doctor refers to a condition associated with adrenal injury as an adrenal dysfunction.

The fact that your adrenal glands do not produce adrenocortical hormones is most commonly the result of the body causing an autoimmune disease (autoimmune disease). For reasons of unknown reason, your immune system considers the adrenal cortex to be foreign, attacks and destroys it.

Other causes of adrenal insufficiency include,

  • tuberculosis
  • Other infectious diseases of the adrenal gland
  • Cancer spreads in the adrenal glands
  • Bleeding in the adrenal gland. It may not appear a prior symptom and may manifest as a crisis of the adrenal glands.

Secondary adrenal insufficiency

Adrenal insufficiency also occurs when the pituitary gland is affected. The pituitary gland makes hormones called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and stimulates the adrenal cortex to produce hormones. Production of inappropriate ACTH may result in insufficient production of hormones normally produced by the adrenal glands even if the adrenal glands are not damaged. The doctor calls this condition secondary secondary adrenal insufficiency.

Another more common cause of secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs when people taking corticosteroids suddenly stop taking intake of corticosteroids for the treatment of chronic diseases such as asthma or arthritis.

 

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