Addisons disease is a chronic endocrine disorder. It is also called adrenal insufficiency. It occurs when there is the insufficient production of cortisol hormone by adrenal glands that are located on the top of the kidney.
Addisons disease is characterized by abdominal pain, weakness, fatigue, weight loss and low blood pressure.
Cortisol: Cortisol is a steroid hormone. It is also called adrenal cortical hormone, hydrocortisone or glucocorticoid. Cortisol is known as a stress hormone as it is released in high amount during “fight or flight” response to stress.
Cortisol helps in:
• Maintaining function of heart and blood pressure.
• Slowing down the inflammatory response of the immune system.
• Regulating the fat, proteins and carbohydrate metabolism.
Cortisol is released by adrenal glands that are located on each kidney. The pituitary glands secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone that controls the release of cortisol by adrenal glands.The level of cortisol is high in the morning and low at night.
Release of cortisol hormone: A part of the brain is called hypothalamus sends corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) to the pituitary gland. Under the influence of CRH, the pituitary gland secretes adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) which reaches the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are located on the top of each kidney, on receiving ACTH they release cortisol hormone in the bloodstream.Addisons disease Common In
It is common for women and children. Higher incidence occurs in 30-50 years of age.
If the condition is not diagnosed and treated on time it results in death.
• During development, gland does not form properly.
• If the gland is unable to produce cortisol.
• Certain disease conditions cause harm to the adrenal gland e.g.
tuberculosis, HIV, bacterial or fungal infections, cancer, bleeding into the gland, some types of surgery or radiation treatments, injury to the gland, long-term use of steroid and sudden withdrawal.
• Muscle weakness.
• Weight loss.
• Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
• Low blood sugars.
• Low blood pressure.
• Cravings for salt.
• Patchy discoloration of the skin.
• Irregularity or sudden stoppage of the menstrual cycle.
• Moderate Hair loss.
If Addison’s disease left untreated it results in sudden onset of symptoms called Addisonian crisis which is a medical emergency. Symptoms include:
• Severe vomiting and diarrhea leading to dehydration.
• Very low blood pressure, blood glucose, and sodium level.
• Loss of consciousness.
• Pain in lower back, abdomen, and legs.
• Elevated potassium and calcium level in the blood.
• Confusion,psychosis,slurred speech.
• Physical examination for change in skin color, blood pressure, dehydration.
• Blood tests for potassium sodium cortisol levels.
• ACTH stimulation test.
• Adrenal Hemorrhage.
• Adrenal Crisis.
Taking corticosteroids will help in relieving the symptoms.
• Cardiac arrest.
• Hypovolemic shock.
• General debility.
• Feeble heart action.
• Skin Discoloration.
• Gastric irritation.
• Chronic wasting.
• Loss of appetite.
• Muscular fatigue.
• Increased general and local perspiration.
• Suited to fat, fair, flabby person.
• This medicine acts best on the left side of the body.
• The main action of medicine is on blood, skin, kidney, gastrointestinal tract and brain.
• Suited to the hydrogenoid constitution.
• It acts best on dark complexioned people past their middle life.
• Pain appears and disappears quickly.
• Excessive physical irritability.
• People take cold easily and are disposed of diarrhea.
• Excessive irritability and fretfulness.
• Thickly coated white tongue.
• The patient becomes angry at very little attention.
• Complaints aggravate by heat and by cold bathing.
• Debility, anxiety, emaciation, though appetite and thirst may be excessive.
• All complaints are better from cold, whole body is pervaded by the sense of heat.
The main aim of treatment is to reduce the morbidity and complications of the disease.
• Increase intake of sodium in diet especially in hot weather and after exercise e.g. table salt, pickles, canned food.
• Increase intake of whole grains and cereals.
• Potassium-rich food e.g. oranges, banana, apricots etc should be reduced.
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