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What You Need to Know About Addison’s Disease

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On prime of your kidneys sit the adrenal glands — these are two thumb-sized triangular glands which can be answerable for the manufacturing of a number of hormones, together with adrenaline, cortisol and aldosterone.1

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When the glands turn into bodily broken and stop to operate usually, you will have a dysfunction known as Addison’s illness. This is a uncommon however probably life-threatening sickness that may have an effect on folks of any age.2 Before going into particulars about this situation, let’s first focus on how the adrenal glands work.

What’s the Role of Your Adrenal Glands?

The adrenal glands are part of your physique’s endocrine system — an interconnected group of glands working collectively to secrete hormones which can be essential in your physique processes.3 Each adrenal gland is made up of two components: the outer half known as the adrenal cortex and the interior half, which is the adrenal medulla.

The inside a part of your adrenal glands secretes adrenaline-like hormones, whereas the outer half produces corticosteroids, which incorporates the male intercourse hormones, androgens.4 Together, all these hormones are essential to your physique features, as they’re wanted for regulating metabolism, blood stress and your physique’s response to stress.

Aside from the three hormones talked about above, the adrenal glands additionally produce dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is vital within the manufacturing of androgens and estrogens,5 additionally known as the intercourse hormones.6

What Happens When You Have Addison’s Disease?

If a person has Addison’s disease, which is often introduced on when the immune system mistakenly assaults your adrenal glands,7 the adrenal cortex is destroyed, hampering the manufacturing of cortisol and aldosterone.8 This leads to a number of signs and, if not managed, could cause problems that will endanger your life.

Some of the common symptoms of Addison’s disease, which often develop slowly over a interval of a number of months, embody:

  • Extreme power fatigue
  • Hyperpigmentation (darkening of the pores and skin)
  • Weight loss and urge for food loss
  • Low blood stress, even fainting
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

Because these signs are usually imprecise and will happen with different situations (they’re even typically blamed on being overworked or inadequate exercise) Addison’s illness is just not instantly decided because the offender. In truth, some folks don’t contact their doctor till one other trigger, reminiscent of surgical procedure, an accident or pregnancy problems,9 exacerbates their signs.10

Addison’s Disease Is a Difficult but Manageable Condition

Addison’s illness is uncommon, with solely 100 to 140 out of each 1 million11 folks affected by this situation. Examples of notable personalities who had this sickness embody President John F. Kennedy, his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver and artist Ferdinand Louis Schlemmer. Authors Jane Austen and Charles Dickens have been additionally speculated to have this situation.12

The excellent news is that Addison’s illness is totally manageable, and even when the sickness is lifelong, there are methods for folks affected with it to stay nearly regular, lively lives. The Addison’s Disease Self-Help Group (ADSHG), a assist group based mostly within the U.Ok., is claimed to have members who’ve reached age 90 and above.13

Check out these pages to study all about Addison’s illness, reminiscent of what causes it, its different hallmark signs and efficient strategies on how to handle this situation.

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What Is Addison’s Disease?

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