Addison’s Disease

WHAT IS ADDISON'S DISEASE (HYPOADRENOCORTICISM):-

Addison's disease is a disorder that occurs when adrenal glands do not produce the sufficient amount of Cortisol and in some cases the hormone Aldosterone

The two adrenal glands present at the top of each of the two kidneys.There major functions are:

-Help the body to respond to stress.

-Control immune system's inflammatory response

-Normalize metabolism of proteins,carbohydrates and fats.

-Regulate blood pressure.

As these are the vital functions of body so deficiency of these hormones have a significant impact on health.

  • CAUSES OF ADDISON'S DISEASE:-

Addison's disease occurs when your adrenal glands produce insufficient amount of cortisol and Aldosterone.

The problem may be due to a disorder of adrenal glands themselves(primary adrenal insufficiency) or to inadequate secretion of ACTH(adrenocorticotropic hormone) by the pituitary gland (secondary adrenal insufficiency).

According to cause it is of 2 types-

  • TYPES OF ADDISON'S DISEASE:-

Primary Adrenal insufficiency- It occurs when Adrenal Cortex is damaged and doesn't produce its hormones.

The failure of gland to produce hormones is resultant of the Autoimmune disease.The immune system views the cortex as foreign,something to attack.

Other causes of adrenal gland failure:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Other infections of the adrenal glands
  • Spread of cancer to the adrenal glands
  • Bleeding into the adrenal glands

Secondary Adrenal insufficiency-It occurs when pituitary gland is diseased.The pituitary gland makes a hormone called ACTH which stimulates the adrenal cortex to produce its hormones.inadequate production of ACTH can lead to insufficient production of adrenal hormones.

Addisonian crisis-
If you have untreated Addison’s disease, an addisonian crisis may be provoked by physical stress, such as an injury, infection or illness.

  • SYMPTOMS OF ADDISON'S DISEASE:-

-Fatigue

-Weight loss in spite of eating well

-Muscle weakness which doesn't improve

-Patchy discoloration of skin most visible on scars,skin folds,pressure points (elbow,knee,toes),lips.

-Low blood pressure

-Craving for salts

-Nausea,vomiting and diarrhea (in 50% patient)

-Irritability

-Depression

-Low blood sugar

-Moderate hair loss

-Irregularity or sudden stoppage of menses

-Children usually present with short stature
Untreated Addison’s can present itself with sudden onset of symptoms(Addisonian crisis):

  • Pain in lower back, abdomen and legs
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea leading to dehydration
  • Very low blood pressures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • DIAGNOSIS:-

1.Blood test-to measure serum sodium,potassium,cortisol and ACTH levels.

2.ACTH stimulation test-This is the most specific test.The normal response after an injection of ACTH is a rise in cortisol levels.patient with adrenal insufficiency respond poorly or do not respond at all.

3.CRH(corticotrophin releasing hormone) stimulation test-It is required to determine the cause of adrenal insufficiency.Patient with primary adrenal insfficiency has high ACTH but do not produce cortisol.Patient with secondary adrenal insufficiency has deficients cortisol but absent ACTH response.

4.X-RAY of abdomen- To detect deposits in the adrenals.

5.CT scan of abdomen-To detect abnormalities in adrenal glands.

6.CT scan or MRI of pituitary-If patient has secondary addison's disease this may be required.

7.Tuberculin test-To rule out tuberculosis.

  • TREATMENT OF ADDISON'S DISEASE:-

Allopathic Treatment-

-Oral corticosteroids

-Corticosteroidal injections

-Androgen replacement therapy

-Hydrocortisone

-Saline solution

-Sugar

Homeopathic Treatment-

Homeopathy medicines can help in stimulating the adrenal glands to improve the secretion of hormones and ths control the disease process.

They can be given along with conventional treatment.

Improvement is gradually seen on the symptomatic level,wherein the patient starts experiencing relief from the symptoms and notices a general sense of well being.

Homeopathic medicines help the body to improve its own functions rather than simply supplementing the hormones externally.

A proper constitutional treatment can also help to arrest the progress of disease.

Homeopathic Medicines-

Arsenic,Belladona,Calcarea carb,iodine,Phos,Tuberculin