Addison’s disease is a rare, chronic condition in which the adrenal glands are unable to produce enough hormones to regulate bodily functions. In this blog post you’ll learn what causes and symptoms of Addison’s disease, how it can be diagnosed, and the treatment options available.
What is Addisons Disease?
Addison’s disease is a rare endocrine disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones. This can lead to a number of symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, weight loss, and darkening of the skin. Addison’s disease is typically treated with hormone replacement therapy.
There are two types of Addison’s disease, primary and secondary.
Primary Addison’s disease is when the adrenal glands don’t work correctly from birth. This is also called adrenal insufficiency.
Secondary Addison’s disease is when the adrenal glands don’t work correctly because of another medical condition. This can happen at any age.
There are a few possible causes of Addison’s disease, but the most common is an autoimmune reaction. In this type of reaction, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the adrenal glands, destroying them. This can be caused by a number of different things, including infections, certain medications, or even stress.
In some cases, Addison’s disease can be caused by a tumor on the adrenal gland. This is much less common, but it can still happen. If you have a family history of Addison’s disease, you may be more likely to develop it yourself.
Addison’s disease can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. The most common symptoms include:
* Weight loss
* Loss of appetite
* Nausea and vomiting
* Abdominal pain
* Darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation)
* Low blood pressure
* Lightheadedness or fainting when standing up (orthostatic hypotension)
If you think you may have Addison’s disease, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible. The diagnosis of Addison’s disease can be difficult because its symptoms are similar to those of other conditions, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, and adrenal gland insufficiency.
Your doctor will likely start with a physical exam and a review of your medical history. He or she will also order blood tests to measure the levels of hormones produced by your adrenal glands. An MRI or CT scan of your adrenal glands may also be ordered.
Once Addison’s disease is diagnosed, it is important to begin treatment right away. Treatment typically involves taking cortisol replacement medication daily. In some cases, you may also need to take medication to treat an underlying condition that is causing Addison’s disease.
Complications from Addison’s disease can be serious, and may even be life-threatening.
If you have Addison’s disease, it’s important to be aware of the potential complications and to know what to do if they occur.
Potential complications of Addison’s disease include:
-Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar): This can happen if you take too much of your cortisol medication or if you miss a dose. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, confusion, anxiety, sweating, and hunger. If you experience these symptoms, eat or drink something with sugar in it right away and call your doctor.
-Adrenal crisis: This is a medical emergency that can occur if you miss a dose of cortisol medication or if your body is under stress (from an infection, injury, surgery, or other illness). Symptoms of adrenal crisis include severe weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, and darkening of the skin. If you experience these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.
-Salt cravings: You may have intense cravings for salt if you have Addison’s disease. This is because your body needs
If you have Addison’s disease, you will need to take lifelong treatment with hormones. The two main types of hormone treatment are corticosteroids and mineralocorticoids.
Corticosteroids are a type of steroid hormone. They come in many different forms, including tablets, capsules, creams, injections, and inhalers. You will usually take them once or twice a day.
Mineralocorticoids are another type of hormone. They help to control the level of salt and water in your body. The most common mineralocorticoid is called fludrocortisone. You will usually take this once a day.
Your doctor will prescribe the doses of these hormones that are right for you. You will need to have regular check-ups so that they can monitor your condition and adjust your dose if necessary.
Addison’s disease is a serious condition that can be life-threatening. However, with early diagnosis and treatment, most people with Addison’s disease can lead normal, healthy lives.
There is no cure for Addison’s disease, but the goal of treatment is to manage the symptoms and prevent complications. Treatment typically involves taking adrenal hormone replacement medication daily. In some cases, additional treatments may be needed to manage other health conditions that are associated with Addison’s disease.
If you think you may have Addison’s disease, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Addison’s disease is a serious condition that can be life-threatening if not treated properly. However, with proper treatment and management, people with Addison’s disease can lead full, healthy lives.