Addison's Disease

Addison's disease (also known as adrenal insufficiency) is a disorder that is a result of the adrenal gland producing an insufficient amount of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. Sometimes the adrenal gland doesn't produce these hormones at all. Cortisol is involved in nutrient metabolization, inflammatory response, liver processes, blood sugar levels, and the amount of water in the body.

Aldosterone regulates water, sodium, pH, and electrolyte levels along with blood pressure. Addison's disease can affect all age groups and genders equally; it can sometimes be life threatening. It can be caused by tuberculosis, fungal infections, cancer, and complications from AIDS. It can also be caused by a faulty autoimmune reaction that causes the body's immune system to attack and destroy the cells in the adrenal cortex. Treatment includes synthetic corticosteroids which replace the hormones that are not being produced by the adrenal cortex.

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