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Addison's Disease

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Addison’s disease Addison’s disease happens when the adrenal glands do not produce the hormones there are supposed to. The adrenal glands are responsible for producing glucocorticoid hormones, mineralocorticoid hormones, and sex hormones. Addison’s disease can be caused by a number of things such as infections, blood loss, tumors, or some medications. All these things cause trauma to the adrenal cortex and less hormone is produced. Infections such as tuberculosis and AIDS are two of the most common that cause Addison’s disease. An adrenal crisis is a complication of the disease (Rennert). Signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease are commonly mistaken for other disease. Addison’s disease is rare so doctors will often diagnose patients with anorexia nervosa or some type of mental illness. Chronic diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite are common symptoms (Professional Guide to Diseases 629). They are common symptoms of several things so doctors do not associate Addison’s disease with this right away. Other symptoms can be changes in heart rate or blood pressure, darkening of the skin in some places, paleness, extreme weakness, fatigue, slow or sluggish movement, mouth lesions, salt cravings, mental confusion, and loss in libido. Addison’s disease can be diagnosed by several test. Some test may show an increase in potassium, low blood pressure, low cortisol levels, low serum sodium, and normal sex hormone levels (Rennert). This disease can also change the results of many test. The test for Addison’s disease is I.V. administration of corticotrophin over six to eight hours. Then a urine sample is taken twenty-four hours later to determine cortisol. I.V. administration of metyrapone. This will block cortisol production and should stimulate the release of corticotrophin. If there are high levels of corticotrophin, and...

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