- What is Addison's disease?
- How does Addison's disease occur?
- What is cortisol?
- How is cortisol regulated?
- What is aldosterone?
- What causes Addison's disease?
- Primary adrenal insufficiency
- Polyendocrine deficiency syndrome
- Other causes of Addison's disease
- Secondary adrenal insufficiency
- What are the signs and symptoms of Addison's disease?
- How is Addison's disease diagnosed?
- How is Addison's disease treated?
- Patient education
- For more information
- Patient Comments: Addison's Disease - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Addison's Disease - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Addison's Disease - Share Your Experience
- Patient Comments: Addison's Disease - Causes
- Find a local Endocrinologist in your town
What is Addison's disease?
Addison's disease is an endocrine or hormonal disorder that occurs in all age groups and afflicts men and women equally. The disease is characterized by weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and sometimes darkening of the skin in both exposed and nonexposed parts of the body.
How does Addison's disease occur?
Addison's disease occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough of the hormone cortisol and, in some cases, the hormone aldosterone. The disease is also called adrenal insufficiency, or hypocortisolism.
What is cortisol?
Cortisol is normally produced by the adrenal glands, located just above the kidneys. It belongs to a class of hormones called glucocorticoids, which affect almost every organ and tissue in the body. Scientists think that cortisol has possibly hundreds of effects in the body. Cortisol's most important job is to help the body respond to stress. Among its other vital tasks, cortisol:
- helps maintain blood pressure and heart function
- helps slow the immune system's inflammation response
- helps balance the effects of insulin in breaking down sugar for energy
- helps regulate the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- helps maintain proper arousal and sense of well-being
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