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Addison's Disease

20 Mar 2012
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OVERVIEW

Addison's disease is a disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones (glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids). It is caused by damage to the adrenal cortex.

If left untreated, Addison's disease can lead to dangerously low blood pressure and coma.

Causes
  • Adrenal insufficiency (primary and secondary)
  • Inability to produce enough cortisol
  • Pituitary gland disorder

 

Symptoms
  • Change in blood pressure or heart rate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chronic diarrhoea, nausea and/or vomiting
  • A craving for salt
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Changes in skin colour – dark tanned skin or hyper-pigmentation on non-exposed skin areas

 

Treatment

Treatment for Addison's disease can include:

  • Oral corticosteroids
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Androgen replacement therapy

 

If you have any of the above symptoms consult your general practitioner.

 

VIDEOS

 


Video: Addison's Disease

 

 

RESOURCES & SUPPORT

Local

New Zealand Addison's Network
DermNet NZ – Addison's Disease

 

International

Addisons.org.uk
National Adrenal Diseases Foundation
NHS – Addison's Disease

 

RESEARCH

British Journal of Medicine
Journal of the American Medical Association
The Lancet

 

 

FORUMS

HealthBoards – Addison's Disease Forum

 

 

DISCLAIMER
The information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic, with links to local and international resources that may be of interest.  We do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date.

You should always, however, seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your general practitioner first.

 

 

Updated April 2012
Image source: Wikipedia – Adrenal Gland