Also known as hypocorticism, Addison’s disease is a condition in which the adrenal glands do not pump out enough steroid hormones to the body. Specifically there is a insufficient amount of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. It can happen in any person and in some animals (yes there is Addison’s disease in dogs). Roughly there is 1 out of every 100,000 people currently living with Addison’s disease. Typically the average age for being diagnosed is between 30 yrs of age and 50 yrs of age.
What is Addison’s Disease Crisis?
When there is a large group of signs and symptoms that point to an adrenal crisis, also termed an Addison’s crisis, it can be a very dangerous thing. These signs of an Addison’s crisis can be fatal if not hospitalized:
- Loss of Consciousness
- Hypogylcemia (low blood sugar)
- Low blood pressure
- Dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea
Addison’s Disease Symptoms
There are definite signs and symptoms of Addison’s although they aren’t very recognizable in the beginning of what is addison’s disease. These symptoms include muscle pain or weakness, dizziness and vomiting, fatigue, anxiety, sweating, headache, muscle and joint pain, and sweating. There is some ways of telling Addison’s by the skin as it tends to hyperpigment the skin’s color. There may be some cravings for salty foods as the body starts to lose sodium. There are some of the Addison’s disease symptoms that are mimicked in other conditions, only a doctor can test and know for sure if it is Addison’s.
Addison’s Disease Treatment
Treatment for Addison’s Disease will put in the missing hormones back into the body. Generally this is either hydrocortisone pills, fludrocortisone, or prednisolone. Florinef is a corticosteroid used to replace cortisone in those affected by Addison’s disease. Florinef is the brand name for Fludrocortisone. Sides effects of Addison’s disease treatments such as Florinef include sleeping disturbances, lightheadedness, hunger, sweating, nervousness, indigestion, and dizziness. If you exercise or are under stress medications such as Florinef may need to have their dose altered to reflect that. Patients can lead a long and normal life with proper treatment.
Addison’s Disease in Dogs
When in canine form, Addison’s typically affects four to seven year old females the most, although all ages and all genders can get Addison’s. When canine hypoadrenocorticism, or Addison’s disease in dogs, occurs, treatment for it will also include Florinef (fludrocortisone) or prednisolone. The dog will need blood work to assess the dosage and need for medication, but has a good prognosis with proper care and treatment.