In Addison’s disease, the bark (cortex or outer layer) of the adrenal glands gradually excretes less steroid hormones. The body can compensate the lack of all these homonyms, except hydrocortisone – a shortage of this hormone causes, among other things, the low level of glucose (source of energy) in the blood. The most common cause of Addison’s disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body destroys only the bark of the adrenal glands.
Symptoms usually develop very gradually, and include lack of appetite, weight loss, feeling of strong fatigue and weakness, and anemia. There may be attacks of diarrhea or constipation, and mild digestive disorders with nausea or vomiting. The skin becomes (and remains) extremely dark as if you are constantly sunbathing.
Addison’s disease is extremely rare, and mostly strikes people between thirty and fifty. Sometimes, it occurs in association with other autoimmune disorders, such as pernicious anemia or Hashimoto’s disease.
If not treated, you run the risk of acute adrenal insufficiency, which always requires immediate hospital treatment. Another danger threatens you from hypoglycemia.
What to do?
If you think you have Addison’s disease, talk to your doctor, even though your “tan” and vague symptoms can sometimes be deceiving. The analysis will determine whether you have low levels of steroid hormones in the blood. If the diagnosis confirms Addison’s disease, you will need to take hydrocortisone tablets (twice a day) for the rest of your life to make up for a lack of this hormone, that is not secreted by glands. The pill will solve all the symptoms. You will get a card with instructions on necessary treatment if you develop acute renal adrenal glands; always carry that card with you. If you have a disease or infection, no matter how insignificant they are, tell your doctor who may increase the dose of hydrocortisone to prevent acute adrenal insufficiency.
Prescribed pills and tips should provide you with a normal life and relatively good health.