Patient's Complete Guide to Addison's Disease

Overview of Addison's Disease

In Addison’s diseases (خون کی کمی), the adrenal gland produces very little amount of these hormones. Cortisol regulates your body response when you are suffering from stress.

Signs and Symptoms of Addison's Disease

The adrenal gland is present on top of your kidneys. This gland regulates your body functions by producing hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone. In Addison’s disease (Khoon Ki Kami/خون کی کمی), the adrenal gland produces very little amount of these hormones. Cortisol regulates your body response when you are suffering from stress. Aldosterone maintains the level of salt and water in your body by helping your kidneys.

Occurrence of Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease is a rare disease that affects only 1 in 100,000 people. It occurs equally in both sexes (male and female). Overall, it affected 40 and 60 people per million of the general population.

Types of Addison's Disease

Addison's disease symptoms typically develop gradually and take several months.

You may feel the following common signs and symptoms:

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure, even fainting
  • Weight loss and decreased appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation)
  • Salt craving
  • Nausea, diarrhoea, or vomiting (gastrointestinal symptoms)
  • Muscle or joint pains
  • Irritability
  • Depression or other behavioural symptoms
  • Body hair loss or sexual dysfunction in women

Causes of Addison's Disease

Addison’s disease is of two types:

  • Primary adrenal insufficiency
  • Secondary adrenal insufficiency

Risk Factors of Addison's Disease

Both types of Addison’s disease occur due to the following reasons:

  • Damaged adrenal glands: When your adrenal glands are damaged due to the action of the immune system it results in primary adrenal insufficiency. This condition is called an autoimmune disorder.
  • Administration of glucocorticoids for a long period
  • Infections in your body
  • Tumours
  • Secondary adrenal insufficiency
  • Damaged Pituitary Gland (low ACTH level causes secondary adrenal insufficiency)
  • Medications
  • Genetics
  • Traumatic brain injury

Prevention

Your chances to develop Addison’s disease are increased if you:

  • Suffer from cancer
  • Take blood thinners
  • Have tuberculosis
  • Had surgery to remove any part of your adrenal gland
  • Have an autoimmune disease such as Graves’ disease

Health Complications of Addison's disease

If you have untreated Addison’s disease, you may develop ‘Addison’s crisis’ as a result of physical stress such as injury, illness or infection. Normally, the adrenal glands produce two to three times the usual amount of cortisol in response to physical stress. But with adrenal insufficiency, the ability to increase cortisol production with stress can lead to an Addison’s crisis.
People with Addison's disease commonly have associated autoimmune diseases.

Diagnosis

Addison’s disease cannot be prevented but it can be managed in order to avoid an Addisonian crisis:

  • Visit your doctor and talk to him if you feel weak, tired or are losing weight. Ask about having an adrenal shortage.
  • If you already have been diagnosed with Addison's disease ask your doctor about what to do when you're sick. You might need to know the dose of corticosteroids you need.
  • If you are extremely sick and vomiting. And if it's difficult for you to take medication then go to the emergency room as soon as you can.

Treatment of Addison's Disease | When to Consult a Doctor

After asking about your sign and symptoms your medical personnel may recommend you following tests:

  • ACTH Stimulation Test: ACTH triggers adrenal glands to release cortisol. Your doctor may recommend this test to estimate the level of cortisol in your blood. Synthetic ACTH is injected after performing the test.
  • Blood Test: Blood tests such as Blood Chemistry Study are usually performed to measure the level of sodium, potassium, cortisol, and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in your blood. A blood test also estimates the level of antibodies when checking for autoimmune Addison's disease.
  • Insulin-Induced Hypoglycemia Test: This test will measure the level of glucose and cortisol in your blood.

Healthcare Providers

Consult with Best Doctors for Addison's Disease

Dr. Ehsan Ashraf Makki, Diabetologist
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Dr. Amena Moazzam Baig Mirza, Endocrinologist
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Dr. Shehzad Ul Haq, Endocrinologist
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Dr. Imran Rashid, Nephrologist
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Dr. Tahir Hameed Malik, Endocrinologist
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Dr. Nauman Tariq, Nephrologist
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Dr. Abeera Mansur, Nephrologist
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Dr. Hameed Tajammal Khan, Nephrologist
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Dr. Tashbeeb Gulzar, Nephrologist
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Dr. Tashbeeb Gulzar

Dr. Fateh Sher, Nephrologist
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Dr. Fateh Sher

Speciality for Addison's Disease

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