Addison's Disease Essays

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Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease is a disorder of the endocrine system. It is a hormonal disorder that can strike anyone, any gender at any age. Addison’s disease has also been called Adrenal Insufficiency (hypocortisolism) because the root of the disease is in the adrenal gland not producing enough of the hormone cortisol, or sometimes not enough of the hormone aldosterone to satisfy the body’s needs. Cortisol is in the class of hormones called glucocorticoids and affects almost every organ in the body. One of the most important functions of cortisol is to help regulate the body’s response to stress. Cortisol is also responsible for other necessary functions including: helping to maintain blood pressure and
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Some symptoms that can also occur in some patients are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The previously mentioned symptoms are fairly common with many different disorders however some of the most defining symptoms of Addison’s disease are low blood pressure that drops when standing, and skin changes or hyperpigmentation that is most visible on areas of the body such as scars, knees, elbows, knuckles, lips, and skin folds. Patients can also suffer from depression, irritability, and a craving for salt, and amenorrhea in female patients. Diagnosing Addison’s disease is most accurately done with biochemical laboratory tests which consist of an injection of ACTH then monitoring the ACTH output in a patient’s urine and/or the levels of ACTH in the patient’s blood to see how the person’s body reacts to the injection. Physicians can also detect Addison’s disease by an insulin-induced hypoglycemia test, which monitors how the adrenal glands, the pituitary glands, and the hypothalamus respond to stress. In this test the patient’s levels of blood glucose and cortisol are measured over an hour and a half following an injection of fast acting insulin. Physicians may also use test such as x-rays of the adrenal glands to check for calcium deposits that may indicate TB. Physicians my also use different imaging tools such as a CT scan to compare the size and shape of the patient’s pituitary gland.
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