Pathophysiology Of Addison 's Disease

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Addison’s disease is also known as Adrenocortical Insufficiency, which means the adrenal cortex does not produce enough hormones (Understanding Medical Surgical Nursing, 2015). Addison’s disease occurs when the adrenal glands, above the kidneys, don’t make enough hormones that are essential to normal body functions (Understanding Addison’s Disease, n.d.). The most common cause of Addison’s disease is due to the adrenal cortex being abnormally small or atrophied. This causes the adrenal cortex to not produce as many hormones (Understanding Medical Surgical Nursing, 2015). If the disease is primary, the pituitary gland may be sending out elevated levels of ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) to try to get the adrenal cortex to produce more hormones. When the disease is secondary, the ACTH does not stimulate the adrenal cortex to produce more hormones (Understanding Medical Surgical Nursing, 2015). Only 1 out of 100,000 people actually have Addison’s disease; making it very rare. Addison’s disease occurs in men and women of any age (Understanding Addison’s Disease).
Etiology, Causes, and Risk Factors
Some people believe that Addison’s disease is autoimmune disease. They think the gland sort of “terminates” itself. Diseases such as tuberculosis, AIDS, cancer, and fungal infections are thought to cause the self-destruction of the adrenal cortex. Hashimoto’s thyroid and bilateral adrenalectomy may also cause Addison’s disease. Secondary Addison’s disease
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