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Addison Disease (cont.)

Patient education

A person who has adrenal insufficiency should always carry identification stating his or her condition in case of an emergency. The card should alert emergency personnel about the need to inject 100 mg of cortisol if its bearer is found severely injured or unable to answer questions. The card should also include the doctor's name and telephone number and the name and telephone number of the nearest relative to be notified. When traveling, a needle, syringe, and an injectable form of cortisol should be carried for emergencies. A person with Addison's disease also should know how to increase medication during periods of stress or mild upper respiratory infections. Immediate medical attention is needed when severe infections, vomiting, or diarrhea occur. These conditions can precipitate an addisonian crisis. A patient who is vomiting may require injections of hydrocortisone.

People with medical problems may wish to wear a descriptive warning bracelet or neck chain to alert emergency personnel. A number of companies manufacture medical identification products.

For more information

The following articles about Addison's disease can be found in medical libraries, some college and university libraries, and through interlibrary loan in most public libraries.

Stewart PM. The adrenal cortex. In: Larsen P, ed. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2003: 491-551.

Chrousos GP. Glucocorticoid therapy. In: Felig P, Frohman L, eds. Endocrinology and Metabolism. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2001: 609-632.

Miller W, Chrousos GP. The adrenal cortex. In: Felig P, Frohman L, eds. Endocrinology and Metabolism. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2001: 387-524.

Ten S, New M, Maclaren N. Clinical Review 130: Addison's disease 2001. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2001;86(7):2909-2922.

Williams GH, Dluhy, RC. Disorders of the adrenal cortex. In: Braunwald E, ed. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 15th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional; 2001: 2084-2105.

The following organizations might also be able to assist with certain types of information:

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association National Office
22100 Gratiot Avenue
East Detroit, MI 48021
Phone: 586-776-3900

National Adrenal Disease Foundation
505 Northern Boulevard, Suite 200
Great Neck, NY 11021
Phone: 516-487-4992
Fax: 516-829-5710

National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service
6 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3569
Phone: 1-888-828-0904
Fax: 1-703-738-4929

Medically reviewed by James Felicetta, M.D. American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism

SOURCE: National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service (NIDDK, NIH)

Last Editorial Review: 4/15/2014


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