Addison’s disease is related to the hormones, it is considered an endocrinal condition, and while there is no cure, people can largely lead normal lives as long as they continue to manage the disease.
What is Addison’s Disease?
Addison’s disease is a rare, hormone-related disease that affects your body’s ability to create and release cortisol and other adrenal hormones. It is also known as a chronic adrenal deficiency, hypocortisolism, or hypoadrenalism.
While supplemental hormone replacement therapy and regular cortisol tablets or hydrocortisone/prednisone supplements can keep the condition at bay, people suffering from Addison’s disease will battle it for the rest of their life in some form, and must be particularly careful when suffering any illness, trauma, surgery, or something else which may affect the general health of the body.
The majority of cases of Addison’s disease are auto-immune, meaning that the body’s own immune system destroys an essential part of the adrenal cortex, severely impairing the body’s ability to produce certain hormones. Other causes of this disease include:
- Tuberculosis (TB)
- Surgical removal of both adrenal glands (adrenalectomy)
- Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD)
- Certain treatments needed for Cushing’s syndrome
Adrenal hormones are important for the body’s fight or flight response, as well as our general behavior and even our psychological function. For this reason, it is important to diagnose the disease at the earliest sign so proper treatment can be pursued, rather than waiting for it to turn into the more serious form of Addisonian crisis. To that end, we must understand the symptoms. Some of the precursors or most common symptoms of Addison’s disease are as follows:
- Fatigue, exhaustion, and weakness
- Light-headedness when standing
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Joint and muscle pain/weakness
- Anxiety, changes in mood, or personality shifts
Note: Many people do not recognize the symptoms until it is too late and the body has already been damaged in a serious way.