Addison's disease
What is Addison’s disease? It is an endocrine or hormonal disorder where the adrenal gland does not produce enough hormones
(also known adrenal insufficiency or hypocortisolism)

external image adrenal.jpg

Symptoms: Weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and sometimes darkening of the skin, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea external image AddisonDisease1.jpg

Why does Addison’s disease occur? It occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough of the hormone cortisol*, and in some cases, the hormone aldosterone. About 70% of reported cases of Addison's disease are caused by an autoimmune attack on the adrenal glands.

Where does this disease affect the body? Most cases are caused by the gradual destruction of the adrenal cortex, the outer layer of the adrenal glands, by the body's immune system
*Cortisol is normally produced by the adrenal glands, located just above the kidneys. It belongs to a class of hormones called glucocorticoids, which affect almost every organ and tissue in the body.

Who is affected by the disease? It occurs in 1 out of 100,000 people in all age groups, and affects males and females equally.
When is Addison’s disease most prevalent? Between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.
How is it detected/ treated? A review of a patient's medical history based on the symptoms, especially the dark tanning of the skin, will lead a doctor to suspect Addison's disease.
Treatment is to replace the hormones that the adrenal glands are not making. Cortisol is replaced orally with hydrocortisone tablets, a synthetic glucocorticoid, taken once or twice a day. If aldosterone is also replaced with oral doses of a mineralocorticoid called fludrocortisone acetate (Florinef), which is taken once a day. Doctors also recommend that patients also take in extra salt.

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