By Dr. Ravindra Chhajed, Endocrinology,
Addison’s disease is a disorder caused due to significant damage in the adrenal cortex (located alongside the adrenal gland’s perimeter that helps mediate stress reaction) which leads to a deficiency in the secretion of the hormones ‘aldosterone’ (that regulates the sodium and potassium level of the body), ‘androgen’ and ‘cortisol’ (which control the body’s reaction in situations of intense pressure) by the adrenal glands.
There are generally two stages of Addison’s disease. The causes vary according to the stages.
In the primary stage of the disorder, the body’s immune system attacks the adrenal cortex and significantly damages it.
Other significant causes are as follows:
- This might occur as a result of the development of tumors and cancerous cells in the body.
- Resulting from certain infections.
- Long-term usage of glucocorticoids (inflammation reducing steroids) might result in the primary adrenal insufficiency.
- This might also be caused due to tuberculosis or severe bleeding in the adrenal glands.
If you’re suffering from any one of the following complications, your chances of contracting Addison’s disease increase significantly:
- Cancer or if you have undergone any surgery to remove parts of the adrenal gland.
- Tuberculosis or diabetes.
- Frequent usage of coagulants.
The treatment of Addison’s disease varies according to the cause of the disorder. The most common treatments for the disorder include:
- A prescribed dosage of glucocorticoids might be recommended.
- Replacement of the hormones that the adrenal glands are unable to produce: Cortisone acetate or prednisone might be used in order to replace the ‘cortisol’ hormone.
- Meditation or other relaxing techniques to ease excessive stress levels or manage any trauma that you have been through.