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Addison’s disease is a medical condition that occurs when the adrenal gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. The adrenal gland produces a small amount of cortisol hormone, as well as the insufficient quantity of aldosterone. It’s a chronic disease. The symptoms of this endocrine disorder usually start slowly. Some of the symptoms include weight loss, abdominal pain, and body weakness. In addition to this, people affected by this endocrine disorder usually present with hyperpigmentation of the skin, palm and other parts of the body. Other symptoms are hypotension, lower back pain, and loss of consciousness. The disease is usually induced by some triggers. Examples of these triggers are injury, psychological and physical stress, infection, surgery and so. Addison’s disease mostly occurs as a result of autoimmunity, especially in the developed world. However, it’s predominantly caused by tuberculosis in the developing world. Other causes of Addison’s disease include sepsis and bleeding. The disease can be treated by replacing the hormones that are not present in the patient. The treatment procedure also involves the use of corticosteroid. The consumption of food that is rich in salt is also helpful in some patients. Scientists are looking for ways to create stem cells that would reduce the autoimmunity of the adrenal gland. This kind of product would be on  stem cells wholesale in the nearest future.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Addison’s Disease?

The signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease develop slowly. This disease could present with any symptom. As a matter of fact, their signs and symptoms can be attributed to other diseases. Below are some of the common signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease;

  1. Hypotension: This is a condition in which the patient’s blood pressure falls below the normal values of 120mmhg of systolic, and 80mmhg of diastolic. People affected by this disease might also have orthostatic hypotension. This is the fall in blood pressure, associated with standing.
  2. Hyperpigmentation: This is the abnormal darkening of the skin. This darkening of the skin includes the area of the body that is not exposed to the sun. The parts of the body that could be darkened include the palm, nipple, cheeks, hands and so on. Hyperpigmentation occurs as a result of the melanocyte-stimulating hormone. This hormone and ACTH share the same precursor.
  3. Tiredness
  4. Weight loss
  5. Loss of appetite
  6. Abdominal pain
  7. Depression
  8. Loss of hair
  9. Sexual dysfunction
  10. Salt craving and hypoglycemia
  11. Syncopal attack

What is an Addisonian crisis?

Addisonian crisis can also be referred to as an acute adrenal failure. The signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease often go on and off. Below are some of the signs and symptoms of Addisonian crisis;

  1. Lower back pain.
  2. Abdominal pain
  3. Leg pain
  4. Low blood pressure
  5. Loss of consciousness
  6. Hyperkalemia and hyponatremia

What Are The Causes Of Addison’s Disease?

Addison’s disease occurs when the adrenal glands lose their functions, and ability to produce adequate amounts of cortisol and aldosterone. The adrenal glands can be found in the kidneys. This is why they’re called suprarenal glands. Their primary function is to secrete hormones that control almost all the other organs of the body. The adrenal gland can be divided into two parts. This includes the adrenal medulla and the adrenal cortex. The cortex is the outer part of the gland, while the medulla is the innermost part of the gland. The adrenal cortex is responsible for the production of corticosteroids such as glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and androgenic hormones.

  1. Glucocorticoids: These are hormones that control how the body converts food substances into energy that is usable by the body. They also play a major role in the immune system. They essentially suppress the immune system. In addition, they are also called the stress hormone, as they help the body cope with stress.
  2. Mineralocorticoid: An example of a mineralocorticoid is aldosterone. They help to keep the sodium and potassium level of the body in a balance.
  3. Androgens: These are male sex hormones. They are secreted by the adrenal glands in little amounts in both sexes. These hormones are responsible for the sexual growth and development in men. This includes the development of sexual drive, muscle mass and so on.

Primary Adrenal Insufficiency

Primary adrenal insufficiency occurs as a result of the destruction of the outer part of the adrenal gland, also known as the cortex. The adrenal cortex fails to produce sufficient amount of hormones. The inability of the gland to produce hormones is mostly due to autoimmunity. This is a condition in which the immune system fails to recognize the adrenal gland as a body tissue and proceeds to attack it. There are other causes of adrenal gland failure. They include tuberculosis, metastasis of cancer to the adrenal gland, bleeding into the adrenal gland, and so on.

Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency

This occurs when the pituitary gland has a problem. The pituitary gland is responsible for the production of ACTH, an adrenocorticotropic hormone. The function of this hormone is to stimulate the adrenal cortex to function. Insufficient amount of this hormone would lead to Addison’s disease. This disease occurs when people are on corticosteroids, especially for the treatment of chronic diseases.

How Is Addison’s disease Diagnosed?

The doctor would take the medical history and the symptoms and complaints of the patient. If the complaints lean towards Addison’s disease, then there would be a need for further tests and evaluations. Blood test, an imaging test, ACTH stimulation test are tests that are usually done to make a diagnosis.

How Is Addison’s Disease Currently Treated?

The main focus of the treatment procedure is to replace the lost hormone. Hydrocortisone tablets are usually given to replace cortisol in the body. Also, cortisone can be used. This drug has the same effect as glucocorticoids. The treatment of this disease is usually long-term, and in most cases, lifelong. People affected by this disease are advised to increase the dose of their medication, especially when they’re to undergo a surgical procedure or a dental treatment.

Stem Cell Therapy Of Addison’s Disease

Stem cells have the ability to modulate the immune system. Apart from this, they’re also capable of repairing and replacing damaged tissues and cells.  Scientists are looking for ways to make stem cells that would prevent the autoimmunity of the adrenal gland.


Addison, G. (1998). Journal search results – Cite This For Me. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease, 21(1), pp.79-79.

Colman, A. (2008). Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and Human Disease. Cell Stem Cell, 3(3), pp.236-237.

Colman, A. (2008). Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells and Human Disease. Cell Stem Cell, 3(3), pp.236-237.

RAUX-EURIN, M., PHAM-HUU-TRUNG, M., PROESCHEL, M. and GIRARD, F. (1978). ACTH investigations in familial Addison??s disease (A.D.) and Schilder Addison??s disease (S.A.D.). Pediatric Research, 12(11), p.1097.