Alternate Names : Primary Adrenocortical Insufficiency, Primary Adrenal Failure, Hypocortisolism
What are the treatments for the disease?
Treatment of Addison disease involves replacing the missing
adrenal hormones. Initial therapy may include IV fluids, other
medicines to support blood pressure or treat infections, and IV
hormones. Once a person is stable, hormone pills alone can be used.
Patients who need to replace aldosterone may also be advised by their doctors
to increase their salt intake.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Medicines to support blood pressure or treat infections
may cause allergic reactions
and stomach upset. If hormones are given in too low or too high an amount,
uncomfortable symptoms can result. For example, if adrenal hormone levels are
too high, people can have mood swings and body swelling.
What happens after treatment for the disease?
In most cases, lifelong hormone replacement is required because
adrenal function does not usually return to healthy levels once it is lost. People
with Addison disease should wear or carry identification, such as a Medic
Alert bracelet, describing their condition and emergency treatment needed.
When people with this disease travel, they should bring along an injectable form
of cortisol that can be used in case of emergency. A plan for increasing cortisol
medicine dosing during periods of high stress or with mild respiratory
infections should also be discussed with the doctor.
How is the disease monitored?
Blood tests can be used to check for salt balance and
hormone levels. Immediate medical attention will be needed if the person
develops a severe infection or severe vomiting and diarrhea. These conditions
can bring on addisonian crisis. Any new or worsening symptoms should be
reported to the doctor as well.