Addison's disease is a severe or total deficiency of the hormones made in the adrenal cortex, caused by a destruction of the adrenal cortex. There are normally two adrenal glands, located above each kidney. The adrenal glands are really two endocrine ( ductless or hormone producing ) glands in one. The inner part of the adrenal ( called the medulla ) produces epinephrine ( also called adrenaline ) which is produced at times of stress and helps the body respond to "fight or flight" situations by raising the pulse rate, adjusting blood flow, and raising blood sugar. However, the absence of the adrenal medulla and epinephrine does not cause disease. In contrast, the outer portion of the adrenal, the cortex, is more critical. The adrenal cortex makes two important steroid hormones, cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol mobilizes nutrients, modifies the body's response to inflammation, stimulates the liver to raise the blood sugar, and also helps to control the amount of water in the body. Aldosterone regulates salt and water levels which affects blood volume and blood pressure. Cortisol production is regulated by another hormone, adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), made in the pituitary gland which is located just below the brain. Classical Addison's disease results from a loss of both cortisol and aldosterone secretion due to the near total or total destruction of both adrenal glands. This condition is also called primary adrenal insufficiency. If ACTH is deficient, there will not be enough cortisol produced, although aldosterone may remain adequate. This is secondary adrenal insufficiency, which is distinctly different, but similar to Addison's disease, since both include a loss of cortisol secretion.

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Addison's disease (also known as chronic adrenal insufficiency, or hypocort ...
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Addison's Disease Symptoms

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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 (hype...
Source: MayoClinic

Causes
... Your adrenal glands are composed of two sections. The interior (medulla) produces adrenaline-like hormones. The outer layer (cortex) produces a group of hormones called corticosteroids, which include ...
Source: MayoClinic

Addison's Disease Treatment

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Treatment
... If you receive an early diagnosis of Addison''s disease, treatment may involve taking prescription corticosteroids. Because your body isn''t producing sufficient steroid hormones, your doctor may have...
Source: MayoClinic

Addison's Disease Support

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Coping skills
... These steps may help you cope better with a medical emergency if you have Addison''s disease: Carry a medical alert card and bracelet at all times. In the event you''re incapacitated, emergency medica...
Source: MayoClinic

Addison's Disease Other

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Overview
... Addison''s disease is a disorder that results in your body producing insufficient amounts of certain important hormones. This disorder affects your adrenal glands, which are located just above each of...
Source: MayoClinic

   

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