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Addision Disease
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Addison's disease: Adrenal Insufficiency

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DIABETES AND ENDOCRINE SYSTEM

Endocrine System

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Addison's disease is an endocrine or hormonal disorder that occurs in all age groups and afflicts men and women equally. The disease is characterized by weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and sometimes darkening of the skin in both exposed and no exposed parts of the body.

Addison's disease occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough of the hormone cortisol and, in some cases, the hormone aldosterone. The disease is also called adrenal insufficiency, or hypocortisolism.

Addison's disease is a rare disorder that results in your body producing insufficient amounts of certain important hormones.

The disorder affects your adrenal glands, which are located just above each of your two kidneys. The adrenal glands are part of your endocrine system, and they produce hormones that give instructions to virtually every organ and tissue in your body.

In Addison's disease, the adrenal glands produce too little cortisol, which is one of the hormones in a group called the glucocorticoids. Sometimes, Addison's disease also involves insufficient production of aldosterone, one of the hormones called the mineralocorticoids.

Addison's disease can be life-threatening. Before the availability of cortisone and related hormones to replace those that were missing, Addison's disease was usually fatal.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Addison's disease usually develop slowly, often over several months, and may include:

  • Muscle weakness and fatigue

  • Weight loss and decreased appetite

  • Darkening of your skin (hyperpigmentation)

  • Low blood pressure, even fainting

  • Salt craving

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

  • Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting

  • Irritability

  • Depression

Sometimes, however, the signs and symptoms of Addison's disease may appear suddenly. In acute adrenal failure (addisonian crisis), the signs and symptoms may include:

  • Pain in your lower back, abdomen or legs

  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration

  • Low blood pressure

  • Loss of consciousness

 

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 

 



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