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Addison's Disease - 10 Facts You Must Know!

Written and reviewed by
Diploma in Diabetology
Endocrinologist, Mumbai  •  9 years experience
Addison's Disease - 10 Facts You Must Know!

Addison’s disease is considered to be a life threatening and serious illness. When one suffers from this disease, the amount of hormones like Aldosterone and Cortisol reduces rapidly due to the poor functioning of the Adrenal glands. The hormones that the Adrenal glands produce are necessary for the body to function normally. To better understand what Addison’s disease is all about, below are some basic facts.

  1. Fact 1: Addison’s disease is often confused or linked with adrenal insufficiency. However, Addison’s disease is more of an autoimmune disorder that later leads to adrenal insufficiency, which is a hormone-related imbalance.
  2. Fact 2: Addison’s disease can happen to anyone regardless of their gender or age. However, genetics may also have a role to play here, as those who have someone affected with Addison’s in the family, face greater risks.
  3. Fact 3: While for someone it may take years for totally disrupting the hormone production, for some it may grow worse very quickly. Though it is rare, it is possible.
  4. Fact 4: The symptoms of Addison’s disease often get unnoticed or misinterpreted, as the disease is very uncommon. This is a rare disease that occurs in one in a million.
  5. Fact 5: When suspected of having Addison’s disease, the screening process doesn’t take much time. Generally, a normal blood test showing the amounts of ACTH and cortisol hormone will confirm the diagnosis.
  6. Fact 6: Some very common symptoms of this disease are mild to severe pain in the bones and in the abdomen, weight loss, nausea, forgetfulness, low blood pressure and lack of energy. It is these common symptoms that can point to numerous other conditions that make its diagnosis a tricky one.
  7. Fact-7: Sometimes, Addison's disease may cause the skin tone to become darker due to the hormonal changes. It is probably the only disease that can cause such darkening or skin discolorations of the otherwise normal skin.
  8. Fact 8: People who have Addison’s disease generally become dependent on the daily intake of cortisol medications or steroids. Without Cortisol, the stress hormone, the body may go into serious adrenal crisis.
  9. Fact 9: When overlooked for a long time or not provided with the treatment and medication when needed, Addison's disease may lead to sudden organ failure. Therefore, understanding the symptoms and opting for a blood test is essential if this disease is suspected.
  10. Fact 10: Lastly, Addison's disease can be easily cured and treated by introducing a few serious lifestyle changes and hormonal therapies. Sometimes when oral hormone supplements fail to get properly absorbed, injecting the supplements becomes necessary.

Studies have shown that around 140 people approximately suffers from Addison's disease out of every million. Therefore, knowing the above-mentioned facts becomes necessary for have a clear understanding of the disease which may help in dealing with it in the best way possible. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Endocrinologist.

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