Addison's disease symptoms usually develop slowly, often over several months, and may include:
- Extreme fatigue.
- Weight loss and decreased appetite.
- Darkening of your skin (hyperpigmentation)
- Low blood pressure, even fainting.
- Salt craving.
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting.
- Abdominal pain.
Can you get disability for Cushing's disease?
If the symptoms or complications from your Cushing syndrome affect your ability to function at home and/or at work, you may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Because Addison's disease is caused by a lack of normal hormones produced by the adrenal glands, it can be treated by replacing those hormones. This can be done with once- or twice-daily tablets of hydrocortisone, a steroid hormone. When treated, people with Addison's disease can lead a full and normal life.
Addison's disease causes a shortage of cortisol, which is a hormone responsible for helping the body cope with stress. So when people with Addison's disease experience stressful events-such as illness, injury, surgery, or psychological stress-they could go into Addisonian crisis.
Common symptoms of Cushing's syndrome (due to an adrenal, pituitary, or ectopic tumor) can include:
- Upper body obesity, round face and neck, and thinning arms and legs.
- Skin problems, such as acne or reddish-blue streaks on the abdomen or underarm area.
- High blood pressure.
- Muscle and bone weakness.
Low levels of cortisol can cause weakness, fatigue, and low blood pressure. You may have more symptoms if you have untreated Addison's disease or damaged adrenal glands due to severe stress, such as from a car accident or an infection. These symptoms include sudden dizziness, vomiting, and even loss of consciousness.
A primary adrenal gland disease. In some people, the cause of Cushing syndrome is excess cortisol secretion that doesn't depend on stimulation from ACTH and is associated with disorders of the adrenal glands. The most common of these disorders is a noncancerous tumor of the adrenal cortex, called an adrenal adenoma.
The mean ages at death for females (75.7 years) and males (64.8 years) were 3.2 and 11.2 years less than the estimated life expectancy. CONCLUSION: Addison's disease is still a potentially lethal condition, with excess mortality in acute adrenal failure, infection, and sudden death in patients diagnosed at young age.
Treatment of Addison's disease involves replacing, or substituting, the hormones the adrenal glands are not making. Cortisol is replaced orally with hydrocortisone tablets, and aldosterone is replaced with oral doses of a mineralocorticoid called fludrocortisone acetate (Florinef).
Adrenal insufficiency can be primary or secondary. Addison's disease, the common term for primary adrenal insufficiency, occurs when the adrenal glands are damaged and cannot produce enough of the adrenal hormone cortisol. The adrenal hormone aldosterone may also be lacking.
The adrenal cortex—the outer part of the gland—produces hormones that are vital to life, such as cortisol (which helps regulate metabolism and helps your body respond to stress) and aldosterone (which helps control blood pressure).
The first section of this page contains the 7 most common symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
- Difficulty getting up in the morning.
- High levels of fatigue each day.
- Inability to handle stress.
- Cravings for salty foods.
- Higher energy levels in the evenings.
- Overuse of stimulants like caffeine.
- A weak immune system.
ACTH Stimulation Test: This is the most specific test for diagnosing adrenal insufficiency. Blood cortisol levels are measured before and after a synthetic form of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), a hormone secreted from the anterior pituitary, is given by injection.
Cushing's disease is a serious condition of an excess of the steroid hormone cortisol in the blood level caused by a pituitary tumor secreting adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH is a hormone produced by the normal pituitary gland.
Adrenal crisis (also known as Addisonian crisis and acute adrenal insufficiency) is a medical emergency and potentially life-threatening situation requiring immediate emergency treatment. It is a constellation of symptoms that indicate severe adrenal insufficiency caused by insufficient levels of the hormone cortisol.
Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency. This form of Addisons disease can be traced to a lack of ACTH, which causes a drop in the adrenal glands production of cortisol but not aldosterone. Less commonly, adrenal insufficiency occurs when the pituitary gland either decreases in size or stops producing ACTH.
In some cases, the underlying causes of Addison's disease can be treated. For example, tuberculosis (TB) is treated with a course of antibiotics over a period of at least six months. However, most cases are caused by a problem with the immune system that can't be cured.
Blood test. Measuring your blood levels of sodium, potassium, cortisol and ACTH gives your doctor an initial indication of whether adrenal insufficiency may be causing your signs and symptoms. A blood test can also measure antibodies associated with autoimmune Addison's disease. ACTH stimulation test.
Like many medical doctors, he says adrenal fatigue doesn't exist: “It's something made up by naturopathic doctors; endocrinologists don't recognize it as a real condition.” However, adrenal fatigue is essentially a stress reaction, and stress is very well understood as a cause of illness.”
People with Addison's disease must be constantly aware of the risk of a sudden worsening of symptoms, called an adrenal crisis. This can happen when the levels of cortisol in your body fall significantly. An adrenal crisis is a medical emergency. If left untreated, it can be fatal.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone, in the glucocorticoid class of hormones. When used as a medication, it is known as hydrocortisone. It is produced in humans by the zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex within the adrenal gland. It is released in response to stress and low blood-glucose concentration.