Addison Disease

Also called: Adrenal insufficiency, Adrenocortical hypofunction, Hypocortisolism

Your adrenal glands are just above your kidneys. The outside layer of these glands makes hormones that help your body respond to stress and regulate your blood pressure and water and salt balance. Addison disease happens if the adrenal glands don't make enough of these hormones.

A problem with your immune system usually causes Addison disease. The immune system mistakenly attacks your own tissues, damaging your adrenal glands. Other causes include infections and cancer.

Symptoms include

  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue that gets worse over time
  • Low blood pressure
  • Patchy or dark skin

Lab tests can confirm that you have Addison disease. If you don't treat it, it can be fatal. You will need to take hormone pills for the rest of your life. If you have Addison disease, you should carry an emergency ID. It should say that you have the disease, list your medicines and say how much you need in an emergency.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Addison Disease

The following features are indicative of Addison Disease:
  • fatigue
  • lightheadedness
  • muscle weakness
  • fever
  • weight loss
  • anxiety
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • sweating
  • changes in mood or personality
  • joint pain
  • muscle pain

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Common Causes of Addison Disease

The following are the most common causes of Addison Disease:
  • autoimmune disorders
  • tuberculosis
  • amyloidosis
  • abnormal adrenal gland development
  • surgical removal of the adrenal glands

Other Causes of Addison Disease

The following are the less common causes of Addison Disease:
  • cancer in the adrenal glands
  • amyloidosis
  • removal of the adrenal glands through surgery
  • abnormal adrenal gland development
  • antifungal medications

Risk Factors for Addison Disease

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Addison Disease:
  • history of cardiovascular diseases

Prevention of Addison Disease

No, it is not possible to prevent Addison Disease.
  • shortage of adrenal hormones

Occurrence of Addison Disease

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Addison Disease cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Extremely rare less than 1000 cases

Common Age Group

Addison Disease most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 35-50 years

Common Gender

Addison Disease can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Addison Disease

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Addison Disease:
  • ACTH stimulation test: To measure cortisol levels in the blood and urine
  • CRH stimulation test: To measure cortisol levels in the blood

Doctor for Diagnosis of Addison Disease

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Addison Disease:
  • Endocrinologist

Complications of Addison Disease if untreated

Yes, Addison Disease causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Addison Disease is left untreated:
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Addison Disease

The following procedures are used to treat Addison Disease:
  • Hormone replacement therapy: To correct the levels of steroid hormones that your body is not producing

Self-care for Addison Disease

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Addison Disease:
  • Keep extra medication handy: Always keep a small supply of medication at a vacation home, at work and in your travel bag, in case if you forget to take your pills

Time for Treatment of Addison Disease

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Addison Disease to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Addison Disease.

Related Topics

Adrenal Gland Disorders

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