Complete Information on Addison's disease with Treatment and Prevention

Apr 30


Juliet Cohen

Juliet Cohen

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Addison's disease occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough of the hormone cortisol and, in some cases, the hormone aldosterone. It may develop in children as well as adults, and may occur as the result of a large number of underlying causes.


Addison's disease is a uncommon disorder in which the adrenal gland produces insufficient amounts of steroid hormones. Addison's disease is also called chronic adrenal insufficiency,Complete Information on Addison's disease with Treatment and Prevention Articles hypocortisolism or hypocorticism. The disease is characterized by weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and sometimes darkening of the skin in both exposed and nonexposed parts of the body. In Addison's disease, your adrenal glands produce too little cortisol, which is one of the hormones in a group called the glucocorticoids. 

Addison's disease can be life-threatening. This is an extremely serious disorder and it must be treated as such. Sometimes, the disease also involves insufficient production of aldosterone, one of the mineralocorticoid hormones. The disorder can occur at any age, but is most common in people ages 30 to 50. Most cases are caused by the gradual destruction of the adrenal cortex, the outer layer of the adrenal glands, by the body's own immune system. Addison's disease affects about 1 in 100,000 people. About 70 percent of reported cases of Addison's disease are caused by autoimmune disorders, in which the immune system makes antibodies that attack the body's own tissues or organs and slowly destroy them.

The condition is generally diagnosed with blood tests, medical imaging and additional investigations. Signs and symptoms of Addison's disease usually develop slowly, often over several months. This disease can be picked up by changes in the ratio between sodium or potassium by accident at times. When this happens it is still extremely important to treat for it. Treatment is with replacement of the hormones (oral hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone). If the disease is caused by an underlying problem, this is addressed. Regular follow-up and monitoring for other health problems is necessary. People with Addison's disease develop patches of dark skin. Black freckles may develop over the forehead, face, and shoulders, and a bluish black discoloration may develop around the nipples, lips, mouth, rectum, scrotum, or vagina.

Treatment for this disorder is usually done by oral organization of fludrocortisone acetate, salting the food, and organization of corticosteroids like prednisone. Patients with chronic adrenal insufficiency who need surgery with general anesthesia are treated with injections of hydrocortisone and saline. Most people also need to take fludrocortisone tablets every day to help restore the body's normal excretion of sodium and potassium. Caution must be exercised when the person with Addison's disease becomes unwell, has surgery or becomes pregnant. Medication may need to be increased during times of stress, infection, or injury. Oral corticosteroid tablets replace the cortisol hormone, and at certain times, your dose will need increasing. If anyone begin vomiting and are unable to keep down oral medication then corticosteroid injections needed. Although treatment must be continued for life, the outlook is excellent.