What Is Addison’s Disease? 



Our adrenal glands are located on the top of the kidney and produce many hormones that our body needs to function normally. Addison’s disease is effectuated by detriments to the adrenal cortex. This damage prevents the adrenal glands from producing enough amounts of steroid hormones like aldosterone and cortisol. The hormone cortisol regulates the reaction of the body to stressful situations and the hormone aldosterone helps with the regulation of potassium and sodium.

Symptoms Of Addison’s Disease 

If you are suffering from Addison’s disease, you may experience symptoms like muscle weakness, reduction in appetite, tiredness, loss of weight, reduction in blood pressure or heart rate, darkening of the skin, low levels of blood sugar, salt craving, fainting spells, vomiting, and nausea. Patients may also experience neuropsychiatric symptoms like depression, sleep issues, and lack of energy, etc. If the disease is untreated for long, it can result in an Addisonian crisis, symptoms of which include delirium, auditory and visual hallucinations, and agitation.

Catalysts Of Addison’s Disease 

Primary adrenal insufficiency and secondary adrenal insufficiency are the two broad categorizations of Addison’s disease. Let us now see what each is.

Primary Adrenal Insufficiency 

This disease occurs when the adrenal glands are severely damaged to an extent where there are incompetent to produce hormones. This is usually caused when the adrenal glands are attacked by the immune system and the condition is called an autoimmune disease.

Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency 

This condition transpires when the pituitary gland is incapable of producing ACTH or the adrenocorticotropic hormone. Not taking the corticosteroid medications prescribed by your doctor can also lead to adrenal deficiency. These medications are usually prescribed to control health issues like asthma.

Methods To Treat The Addison’s Disease 

The cause of the condition has a major role to play in the treatment of Addison’s disease. Many low income clinics can help you diagnose and treat Addison’s disease. Your doctor can prescribe medications to regulate the functioning of your adrenal glands and you need to follow the treatment plan created by the doctor. This is because Addison’s disease when untreated can progress to Addisonian crisis, which can decrease blood pressure, blood sugar and increase the levels of potassium in the blood, which can be life-threatening. Sometimes your doctor might prescribe hormone substitutes to replace the hormones that are not being produced by the adrenal glands.


If you experience any symptom of Addison’s disease, visit a low income medical clinic in your area and get diagnosed by a professional.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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