Facts About Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease is a hormonal disorder that can affect both men and women of any age. The disease is often characterized by weight loss, fatigue, low blood pressure, muscle weakness, and often times a darkening of parts of the skin that are exposed and not exposed.

How does Addison’s disease happen?

Addison’s disease can happen when the adrenal glands are not able to produce enough of the hormone cortical and sometimes the hormone aldosterone. Because of this the disease is sometimes referred to as adrenal insufficiency, or hypocortisolism.

Cortisol is normally produced by the adrenal glands – which are located just above the kidneys. This hormone can affect almost every organ and tissue of the body. Aldosterone is also produced by the adrenal glands and helps to maintain water and salt balance and blood pressure in the body to help the kidneys retain excrete potassium and sodium. When aldosterone production falls too low, the kidneys are not able to regulate salt and water balance, causing blood volume and blood pressure to drop.

What causes Addison’s disease?

Failure to produce adequate levels of cortisol can occur for different reasons. The problem may be due to a disorder of the adrenal glands themselves (primary adrenal insufficiency) or to inadequate secretion of ACTH by the pituitary gland (secondary adrenal insufficiency).

September 9th, 2008 • tonks • Conditions and Diseases Comments Off


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