The development of Addison's disease is due to the inability of the adrenal glands to produce enough cortisol and sometimes aldosterone.
Cortisol affects practically all organs. Especially it is important for the regulation of blood pressure and metabolism. It helps the body to cope with stress caused by diseases, injuries, operations, birth of a child, etc. Aldosterone promotes the maintenance of the necessary salts in the body, as well as the maintenance of normal blood pressure.
Normally, cortisol levels increase due to the hormonal chain reaction:
- At first, the hypothalamus produces the hormone corticoliberin;
- Then kortikiloberin "tells" the pituitary gland that he must produce adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH);
- ACTH affects the adrenal glands so that they produce cortisol.
If cortisol is not enough, Addison's disease develops.
The causes of Addison's disease
Often Addison's disease develops after the immune system has destroyed that part of the adrenal gland that produces cortisol and aldosterone. It can also appear as a result of adrenal suppression in connection with:
- Infections (tuberculosis, HIV, or other bacterial and fungal infections);
- Cancer that spreads to the adrenal glands (this is especially common in lung cancer);
- Hemorrhage in the adrenal gland, which is a side effect of taking anticoagulants;
- Some types of operations and radiation therapy;
- Taking a number of drugs, such as high doses of ketoconazole;
- Adrenal damage;
- Prolonged intake of steroid drugs, followed by cutting them off.
You can become ill at any age.
Symptoms of Addison's Disease
- Strong fatigue (fatigue), weakness;
- Weight loss without the addition of any effort.
You can also observe:
- Darkening of the skin;
- Loss of appetite;
- Nausea or vomiting;
- Craving for salt.
The development of symptoms is usually slow. A person may not notice them until the body can not face the kind of stress (severe infection, trauma, surgery or dehydration), which trigger an acute failure of the adrenal cortex. This means that the body can not produce enough to cope with stress, the amount of cortisol.
In some cases, Addison's disease develops very quickly.
The symptoms of acute insufficiency of the adrenal cortex function include:
- Severe vomiting and diarrhea;
- Sharp pain in the abdomen, in the lower back or legs;
- high temperature;
- Strong feeling of weakness or dizziness;
- Anxiety, confusion or fear;
- Difficulty staying in a state of wakefulness.
In the presence of the above symptoms should immediately consult a doctor. If you do not remove the acute state, you can die from shock at a pressure drop.