Addison’s Disease

Overview

Addison’s disease is also known as adrenal insufficiency. It is an uncommon disorder occurring when the body doesn’t produce sufficient amounts of certain hormones. When you have Addison’s disease your adrenal glands produce too little aldosterone and cortisol. 

Addison’s disease can occur in all genders and age groups and may be life threatening. Treatment for Addison’s Disease involves taking hormones so that you can replace what is not being produced. You can buy Cortef online to treat Addison’s Disease, read more about this condition below. (This is not complete information about this condition and you should always seek medical advice from a professional).

Symptoms

The symptoms of Addison’s disease generally develop slowly, usually over several months. Often this disease progresses so slowly that the symptoms get ignored until a stress (injury or illness) happens and the symptoms worsen. Signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease may include: 

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

Diagnosis

If you think you have Addison’s disease you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will discuss the signs and symptoms with you as well as your medical history. They may run the following tests to properly diagnose you: 

  • Blood test – blood tests can measure the levels of cortisol, potassium, sodium and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in your blood. Blood tests also measure antibodies related to autoimmune Addison’s disease. 
  • ACTH stimulation test – ACTH will signal to your adrenal glands to make more cortisol. This test measures the amount of cortisol in your blood both before and after a synthetic ACTH injection. 
  • Insulin-induced hypoglycemia test – if your doctors think you could have adrenal insufficiency resulting from pituitary disease they may administer this test. It involves checking your blood sugar levels and cortisol levels after injecting insulin. 
  • Imaging tests – Your doctor may have you undergo a CT scan of your abdomen to check the size of your adrenal glands as well as to check for other abnormalities. You might also get an MRI scan of the pituitary gland if testing indicates you might have secondary adrenal insufficiency. 

Treatment

Addison’s disease treatments all involve medication. Hormone replacement therapy is used to correct the levels of steroid hormones your body does not produce. Some medications used include oral corticosteroids like: 

  • Hydrocortisone, methyprednisolone, or prednisone to replace cortisol. These hormones are given on a regular schedule to mimic the regular 24-hour fluctuation of cortisol levels. 
  • Fludrocortisone acetate to replace aldosterone

You will also need to ensure there is plenty of sodium in your diet. This is especially important when the weather is hot, during heavy exercise, or if you have gastrointestinal upsets. 

If your body is stressed such as from a minor illness, operation, or infection, your doctor may suggest a temporary increase in your medication dosage. 

There are other recommendations for treatment including: 

  • Carry a medical alert bracelet and card at all times
  • Carry a glucocorticoid injection kit
  • Keep extra medication handy
  • Have annual checkups
  • Stay in contact with your doctor

An Addisonian crisis is a medical emergency and may need quick treatment. Treatment usually includes IV injections of: 

  • Saline solution
  • Dextrose
  • Corticosteroids