Addison’s disease: main symptoms, causes, and treatment

Addison’s disease, also known as primary adrenal insufficiency, occurs when the adrenal or adrenal gland stops producing the hormones aldosterone and cortisol, which is a hormone responsible for controlling stress and blood pressure and reducing inflammation.¬†Thus, the lack of these hormones can lead to weakness, an excessive desire to consume salt and a feeling of generalized fatigue.¬†Understand¬†what cortisol is and what it is for.

This disease can happen in people of any age, men or women, but it is more common in people between 30 and 40 years old, and can be caused by several factors, such as prolonged use of medications, infections or autoimmune diseases, for example.

The treatment of Addison’s disease is determined by the endocrinologist based on the assessment of symptoms and the dosage of hormones by means of a blood test and usually involves supplementation of the hormone.

Main symptoms

Symptoms of Addison’s disease are:

  • Abdominal pain;
  • Weakness;
  • Fever;
  • Sickness;
  • Slimming;
  • Excessive desire to eat salt, since a characteristic of this disease is the excessive loss of salt in the urine;
  • Darkening of the skin, especially in the folds;
  • Cutaneous hyperpigmentation, which are spots on the skin;
  • Irritation;
  • Postural hypotension, which corresponds to dizziness when standing up.

The destruction of the gland is quite slow, which can lead to confusion of the symptoms of Addison’s disease with other diseases and, therefore, unfortunately, the diagnosis is usually made in more advanced stages of the disease.

The diagnosis of Addison’s disease can be made based on the symptoms that the individual presents and confirmed by measuring the hormones produced by the adrenal and adrenal glands through a blood test.

Possible causes

Addison’s disease can be caused by several situations, such as autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system starts to attack the organism itself, which can interfere with the function of the adrenal glands, fungal infections, viruses or bacteria, such as blastomycosis, HIV and tuberculosis, for example, in addition to neoplasms.

How the treatment is done

The treatment for Addison’s disease aims to supply hormonal deficiency through medications, such as:

  • Cortisol or hydrocortisone;
  • Fludrocortisona;
  • Prednisone;
  • Prednisolone;
  • Dexamethasone.

The treatment must be carried out according to the medical recommendation and must be carried out for a lifetime since the disease has no cure.

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