Addison’s disease is an unusual kind of disorder of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys. These gland yields two essential hormones: cortisol and aldosterone. This disease is also known as primary adrenal insufficiency or hypoadrenalism. This causes damage of the adrenal gland. Addison’s disease is most common between the ages of 30 to 50. This happens when you have a problem with your immune system. It causes to attack the outer layer of the adrenal gland.
Addison’s disease symptoms
The most common early stage symptoms of Addison’s disease are:
- Muscle weakness
- Low mood
- Loss of appetite
- Unintentional weight loss
- Increased thirst
These complications may be more severe and you may experience further symptoms such as:
- Darkened lips/skin/gums
Addison’s disease causes
Addison’s disease is caused by damaged adrenal glands. The adrenal gland is composed of two sections (medulla and cortex). The condition is usually the result of a problem with the immune system.
Other causes of adrenal gland failure may consist of:
- Other infections of the adrenal glands
- Spread of cancer to the adrenal glands
- Bleeding into the adrenal glands
Risk factors of Addison’s disease
This may be at a higher risk risks if you:
- Have cancer
- Take anticoagulants (blood thinners)
- Have chronic infections (tuberculosis)
- Had surgery to remove any part of your adrenal gland
- Have an autoimmune disease
You must be frequently aware of the risks of a sudden worsening of symptoms. This possibly happens when the levels of cortisol in your body fall expressively.
Diagnosis of Addison’s disease
- Medical history
- Symptoms that you’ve been experiencing
- Physical examination
- Some laboratory tests (Potassium and sodium levels)
- Imaging tests
- Measuring your hormone levels
Treatment of Addison’s disease
All treatment of this disease contains medication. Hormone replacement may be prescribed to replace hormones that your adrenal glands are not making. You will be given this kind of medication to correct the levels of steroid hormones that your body isn’t producing.
Addison’s disease complications
An adrenal crisis is a medical emergency. If left untreated, it can lead to coma and death. Adrenal crisis can cause:
- Cardiac arrest, when the heart stops completely
- Stroke when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted
- Hypovolemic shock
Keep an emergency kit that contains your medications. Consult a doctor right away if you’ve experienced this kind of disease.