Only 1 in 100,000 individuals have this disease.
Addison's Disease is a rare autoimmune condition that affects the adrenal glands. These glands play a pivotal role in regulating hormones in the body. When these glands don't produce enough hormones, Addison's Disease occurs.
In this disease, the adrenal glands have made an insufficient amount of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is essential for everyday health due to the fact that it regulates the body's response to stress. Cortisol is also responsible for regulating your body's use of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. It aids in regulating blood pressure and helps with cardiovascular function.
There are two forms of Addison's Disease:
Primary Adrenal Insufficiency: The issue rests solely on the adrenal glands (it started there and is contained there).
Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency: The issue started elsewhere in the body, such as the pituitary gland.
How is Addison's Disease considered autoimmune?
While Addison's Disease results from the glands themselves, autoimmune disease is responsible for 70% of the disease. This occurs when the immune system attacks the adrenal glands, thinking that the glands are bad. The assault destroys the outer lining of the adrenal glands.
Symptoms of Addison's Disease
-Low blood pressure
-Inability to handle stress
-Unable to tolerate hot or cold
-Craving salty food
How is Addison's diagnosed?
It is commonly detected during routine blood tests. Once it is detected, your doctor will check you for skin changes or changes in your gum health. In order to get an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will measure hormone levels in your blood and urine before and after giving ACTH (hormone in the brain that increases the amount of cortisol in the body). Measuring the levels can help your doctor figure out if Addison's is caused by a problem in your brain or adrenal gland.
Your doctor may order CT Scans and Xrays in order to pinpoint the cause.
Treatment for Addison's Disease
-Hydrocortisone: A steroid hormone
-Fludrocortisone Acetate: A synthetic steroid.
Any treatment may need to be increased during times of injury, infection, surgery or stress.
Treatment has a successful track record, and those with the disease can lead a full and normal life. It is important to carry an extra supply of medication with you, and you should wear a medical alert bracelet.
Addisonian Crisis is what occurs when symptoms of Addison's Disease worsen quickly.
Symptoms of this crisis include:
-Penetrating pain in the stomach, lower back, or legs
-Severe diarrhea and vomiting
-Low blood pressure