Addison’s Disease – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments!

Addison’s Disease – What it is, Symptoms and Treatments we should be aware of. Also, your adrenal glands are located on top of your kidneys . These glands produce many of the hormones your body needs for normal functions.

Addison ‘s disease occurs when the adrenal cortex is damaged and the adrenal glands do not produce enough of the steroid hormones cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol regulates the body’s reaction to stressful situations. Aldosterone helps with sodium and potassium regulation . The adrenal cortex also produces sex hormones (androgens).

Main Symptoms of Addison’s Disease:  People with Addison’s disease may experience the following symptoms:

  • Weakness in the muscles
  • fatigue and tiredness
  • Darkening in skin color
  • Weight loss or decreased appetite
  • A decrease in heart rate or blood pressure
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • fainting spells
  • mouth sores
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • irritability or depression

If Addison’s disease is not treated for a long time, it can become an Addisonian crisis. An Addisonian crisis is a life-threatening medical emergency. Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know starts trying:

  • Mental status changes (confusion, fear, or agitation)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • High fever
  • Sudden pain in your lower back, belly, or legs
  • An untreated Addisonian crisis can lead to shock and death.

Main Causes of Addison’s Disease:  There are two main classifications for Addison’s disease: primary adrenal insufficiency and secondary adrenal insufficiency. To treat your condition, your doctor will need to find out which type is responsible for your condition.

Primary Adrenal Insufficiency: Primary  adrenal insufficiency occurs when your adrenal glands are damaged so severely that they can no longer produce hormones. This type of Addison’s disease is most often caused when your immune system attacks your adrenal glands. This is called an autoimmune disease. In an autoimmune disease, your body’s immune system tricks any organ or area of ​​the body into a virus, bacteria, or other foreign invader.

Other causes of primary adrenal insufficiency include:

  • Prolonged administration of glucocorticoids (eg, prednisone)
  • Infections in your body
  • Cancer and abnormal growth (tumors)
  • Certain blood thinners used to control blood clotting
  • Secondary adrenal insufficiency

Secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs when the pituitary gland (located in your brain) cannot produce adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH tells the adrenal gland when to release hormones.

It’s also possible to develop adrenal insufficiency if you don’t take the corticosteroid medications your doctor prescribes. Corticosteroids help manage chronic health conditions such as asthma .

Risk Factors for Addison’s Disease:  You may be at greater risk for Addison’s disease if you:

  • have cancer
  • Taking anticoagulants (blood thinners)
  • Have chronic infections such as tuberculosis
  • Surgery to remove any part of the adrenal gland
  • Have an autoimmune disease, such as type 1 diabetes or Graves’ disease

Addison  ‘s Disease Diagnosis : Your doctor will ask you about your medical history and the symptoms you are experiencing. They will do a physical exam and may order some lab tests to check your potassium and sodium levels . Your doctor may also order imaging tests and measure your hormone levels.

Treatment for Addison’s Disease:  Your treatment will depend on what is causing your condition. Your doctor may prescribe medications that regulate the adrenal gland. Following the treatment plan your doctor creates for you is very important. Untreated Addison’s disease can lead to an Addisoncrisis .

If your condition has not been treated for a long time, and has progressed to a potentially life-threatening condition called an Addisonian crisis, your doctor may prescribe medication to treat it first. Addisonian crisis causes low blood pressure, high blood potassium and low blood sugar levels.

Medications:  You may need to take a combination of medications with glucocorticoids (drugs that stop inflammation) to improve your health. These medications will be taken for the rest of your life and you cannot miss a dose. Hormone replacements may be prescribed to replace hormones that your adrenal glands aren’t making.

Home Care:  Keep an emergency kit that contains your medications on hand at all times. Ask your doctor to write a prescription for an injectable corticosteroid for emergencies. You may also want to keep a medical alert card in your wallet and a bracelet on your wrist to let others know about your condition.

Alternative Therapies:  It is important to keep your stress level low if you have Addison’s disease . Major life events, such as the death of a loved one or an injury, can increase your stress level and affect how you respond to your medications. Talk to your doctor about alternative ways to relieve stress , such as yoga and meditation.

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