Addison's Disease: Hypocortisolism

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  • Topic: Cortisol, Aldosterone, Adrenal cortex
  • Pages : 2 (776 words )
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  • Published : January 23, 2011
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Addison’s disease, also known as Hypocortisolism, is a disorder in which your adrenal glands produce too little cortisol and often insufficient levels of aldosterone. (Mayo) Addison’s disease is usually caused by a destruction of the adrenal cortex which produces two important steroid hormones, cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol mobilizes nutrients, modifies bodily responses to inflammation, stimulates the rise in blood sugar levels in the liver, and controls the amount of water in the body. Aldosterone regulates the salt and water levels which affect blood pressure and blood volume. (Hpathy) in the United State, 40-60 people out of every 1 million will have Addison’s disease. (WebMD) Some risk factors for Addison's disease include autoimmune diseases such as: Chronic thyroiditis, Dermatis herpetiformis, Graves' disease, Hypoparathyroidism, Hypopituitarism, Myasthenia gravis, Pernicious anemia, Testicular dysfunction, Type I diabetes, and Vitiligo. (A.D.A.M.) The symptoms of Addison ’s disease usually begin gradually. Some characteristics of the disease are chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, and unusual weight loss. About fifty percent of the time, one will notice nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Other more serious symptoms include low blood pressure that falls further when standing, causing dizziness or fainting, and skin changes with areas of hyperpigmentation, or dark tanning, covering exposed and nonexposed parts of the body. ( Your doctor may suspect you of having Addison's disease from your medical history and physical examination and if blood tests show high potassium, low sodium, and high levels of certain types of white blood cells. If your doctor does suspect Addison's disease, you will have another blood test to determine your cortisol level. If necessary, X-rays, such as a CT scan or MRI, can also be used to determine damages to the adrenal glands. (WebMD) Since Addison's disease is caused by the lack of cortisol and...
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