Addison’s disease is a disorder in which the adrenal glands underproduce hormones. The lack of adrenal hormones (corticosteroids) is frequently caused by an autoimmune disorder that damages the gland.
What Are The Symptoms?
The symptoms of Addison’s disease appear gradually but become increasingly obvious over a period of several weeks or months. You may develop:
- Vague feelings of ill health
- Fatigue and weakness
- Gradual loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Skin pigmentation similar to suntan, Especially in the creases of the palms and on knuckles, elbows and knees.
What Is The Outlook?
People with Addison’s disease usually develop low blood pressure (hypotension).
If the levels of corticosteroids become very low, a crisis may occur, particularly during an illness or after an injury. The crisis is caused by an excessive loss of salt and water and results in dehydration, extreme weakness, abdominal pain, vomiting and confusion. Left untreated, a crisis may lead to coma and death.
Addison’s disease is often treated Successfully with synthetic hormones.