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What is Addison's Disease

A rare disorder resulting from the cortex (outside part) of the adrenal glands (located at the upper end of each kidney) failing to produce hormones. These hormones are vital to many essential bodily functions, including the breaking down and use of carbohydrates and control of body salts; maintaining adequate blood pressure and blood sugar; stress response; and healing. The adrenal glands may be damaged or destroyed by AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE (in which the immune system produces antibiotics that attack one or more of the body's own tissues), tumors, or chronic infections such as tuberculosis.

Adrenal Insufficiency

A person who is developing Addison's disease may experience:

  • Extreme weakness and fatigue.
  • Darkening of the skin of the face, often as freckles or a deepening of tan.
  • Weight loss and abdominal pain or cramps.
  • Blackouts.
  • A craving for salt.

A Symptom Of Addison's Disease

The failure of the adrenal glands may be very gradual, causing an insidious worsening over months or years of weakness, lethargy, fainting, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and darkening of the skin and mouth lining. During the course of the illness, stresses such as infection, injury, or surgery may trigger an acute episode of severe symptoms called low blood pressure extreme weakness and mental confusion that may progress to coma.

  • Listlessness, lack of energy
  • Altered bowel habit-more, longer, toilet visits
  • Altered appearance: the face looks darker, there are discolored patches.

Treatment Of Addison's Disease

Patients with Addison's Disease will have to take CORTICOSTEROID drugs for the rest of their lives. People with Addison's Disease are wanted to contact their doctor without delay at the first sign of infection or if they are injured, as they will need increased doses to help the body cope with any stress.

Diagnosis Of Addison's Disease

If Addison's Disease is suspected, blood tests will confirm reduced adrenal hormone levels and disturbed metabolism of salts and carbohydrates.

Treatment Of Addison's Disease Is With Hormone Replacement, Using Hydrocortisone.

An adrenal crisis is a life-threatening emergency. It can follow hemorrhage into both adrenal glands in severe infections. It is common in children with severe infections. The commonest cause is an abrupt withdrawal of steroids after long-term treatment of Addison's Disease.

About The Authors

Landon Morton

Landon Morton - Landon is a professional character coach, motivational speaker, and consultant who values commitment, service, and excellence. Landon brings to your company valuable insights gained from his battlefield experience as a decorated combat veteran, enabling you to unleash the untapped potential of your employees. He illustrates how the invaluable talent that each individual brings to your company will positively affect your mission through real-world examples.

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