(Addison's Disease; Adrenal Insufficiency)
Glands make and release hormones.
Hormones are chemicals that stimulate other cells or tissues into action. Because hormones are in your blood, they travel throughout your body. They can affect many organs at the same time.
You have two adrenal glands, one above each kidney. The adrenal glands release several different hormones that help control your blood pressure, heart rate, balance of water and salt, response to stress, and some male-type sex features.
In Addison disease, your adrenal glands don't make enough adrenal hormones.
Addison disease is usually caused by your immune system attacking your adrenal glands
Symptoms come on slowly
You feel weak and tired all the time and may get dizzy when you stand up
Your skin may develop dark areas, like an uneven tan
Doctors give you hormone pills to replace the ones you're missing
You’ll need to take the hormones for the rest of your life
Addison disease is usually due to a problem with your adrenal glands, including:
Cancer of the adrenals
Infections of the adrenals, such as tuberculosis
Symptoms of Addison disease start slowly and usually include:
Sometimes you also have:
A crisis is a serious emergency.
An adrenal crisis is a life-threatening, sudden worsening of Addison disease.
Your body needs adrenal hormones to respond to stresses like a serious injury or illness. Without enough adrenal hormones, injury or illness puts stress on your body and can cause an adrenal crisis. You could have:
Doctors will prescribe:
You'll need to take extra adrenal hormones if you get sick.
If you have adrenal crisis you will need:
Doctors will suggest that you keep these with you at all times: