Addison disease happens when the adrenal glands do not make enough of a hormone called cortisol. It helps the body with things like blood pressure, metabolism, and the immune system. Aldosterone hormone levels may also be low.
The disease may be:
Primary—the adrenal glands cannot make hormones
Secondary—other hormones that tell the adrenal glands what to do are missing or low
A severe problem from this disease is Addisonian or
adrenal crisis. It can be deadly.
Adrenal insufficiency and Addison's disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/endocrine/adrenal-insufficiency-Addisons-disease/Pages/fact-sheet.aspx. Accessed October 27, 2020.
Adrenal insufficiency in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/adrenal-insufficiency-in-adults. Accessed October 27, 2020.
Charmandari E, Nicolaides NC, et al. Adrenal insufficiency. Lancet. 2014 Jun 21;383(9935):2152-2167.
Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 4/30/2021
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