- Who Gets It?
- Foods to Eat
- Foods to Avoid
- Prognosis and Outlook
What is Addison's disease?
Addison’s disease affects your adrenal glands. It is a serious and potentially life-threatening but rare condition caused by not enough cortisol or aldosterone hormones in your body. You need these hormones to regulate your immune system, blood pressure, and other important functions.
Addison’s disease affects your adrenal glands and it is sometimes called primary adrenal insufficiency or hypoadrenalism.
Your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and produce important hormones called cortisol and aldosterone. They communicate with parts of your brain called the hypothalamus and the pituitary to release these hormones.
In Addison’s disease, the adrenal gland is damaged and doesn’t make enough hormones. Sometimes the pituitary is damaged and doesn’t tell the adrenals to release cortisol or aldosterone.
Symptoms of Addison's disease
Causes of Addison's disease
Addison’s disease is rare. It usually develops as an autoimmune reaction when your immune system attacks your adrenal glands. Other causes may include:
Who can get Addison's disease?
Anyone can get Addison’s disease. However, it is more common in women than men and usually appears between the ages of 30 and 50.
Foods to eat if you have Addison's disease
The hormone aldosterone regulates the balance of sodium and potassium in the body. People who have Addison’s disease with low aldosterone may have low levels of sodium and high amounts of potassium. You can help manage your Addison’s disease with diet.
Best foods for Addison's disease
People who have Addison’s disease with low aldosterone hormone can eat a diet high in sodium. These include foods like:
- Grain products
- Canned tuna
- Canned beans
- Salted nuts
- Salted seeds
- Added table salt
If you have Addison’s disease and you crave salt, you should eat salty foods. The best choice of sodium-rich foods are nutritious foods like eggs, cheese, salted nuts and seeds, and poultry, but you may benefit from snacking on salted crackers or pretzels.
However, your doctor may prescribe steroid medications that can balance your salt intake and allow you to eat a normal diet.
People with Addison’s disease take regular steroid medicine. Over time these medicines can cause damage to the bones and bone disease. You should eat foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D to help your bones. These foods include:
- Ricotta cheese
- Soy milk
- Turnip greens
- Fortified cereal
- Fortified orange juice
People with Addison’s disease should also eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins.
Foods to avoid if you have Addison's disease
There are some foods that people with Addison’s disease should avoid. These include:
Complications of Addison's disease
If you have Addison’s disease, you may experience sudden and severe symptoms when your body is stressed. This can happen during a fever, surgery, dehydration, or when you are sick. Sudden and severe symptoms cause a condition called Addisonian crisis or acute adrenal insufficiency. This can also occur if you stop taking your medications or your prescription dose is lowered suddenly.
Symptoms of Addisonian crisis can look like Addison’s disease but are severe and appear suddenly. These include:
- Fast and shallow breathing
- Severe drowsiness
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe vomiting and diarrhea
- Pale, clammy skin
- Severe dehydration
- Severe muscle weakness
If this condition is not treated, it can lead to:
Outlook for Addison's disease
If you have Addison’s disease, you will need to take medication for the rest of your life. You may experience more symptoms when you are stressed or sick and you may experience times of fatigue.
If you miss a dose of medicine or you take it late, you may also experience exhaustion and insomnia. It is important to take your medications as prescribed and to carry emergency medications with you.
Latest MedicineNet News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Adrenal Insufficiency (Addison's Disease)."
National Health Service: "Addison's disease – Symptoms."
National Health Service: "Overview – Addison's disease."
National Health Service: "Addison's disease – Treatment."
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Eating, Diet, and Nutrition for Adrenal Insufficiency & Addison's Disease."
National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements: "Calcium."
National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements: "Vitamin D."
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: "Sodium in Your Diet."
Top 10 Foods to Eat If You Have Addisons Disease Related Articles
Addison's DiseaseAddison disease is a hormonal (endocrine) disorder involving destruction of the adrenal glands (small glands adjacent to the kidneys). Diseased glands can no longer produce sufficient adrenal hormones (specifically cortisol) necessary for normal daily body functions. Symptoms include weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and sometimes darkening of the skin. Treatment of Addison disease involves replacing, or substituting, the hormones that the adrenal glands are not making.
Diabetes and Kidney DiseaseIn the United States diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure. High blood pressure and high levels of blood glucose increase the risk that a person with diabetes will eventually progress to kidney failure. Kidney disease in people with diabetes develops over the course of many years. albumin and eGFR are two key markers for kidney disease in people with diabetes. Controlling high blood pressure, blood pressure medications, a moderate protein diet, and compliant management of blood glucose can slow the progression of kidney disease. For those patients who's kidneys eventually fail, dialysis or kidney transplantation is the only option.
25 Hormone Imbalance Symptoms and SignsHormone imbalance including abnormal levels of estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, progesterone, and other hormones may lead to symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, and mood swings. Hormonal imbalance may be due to natural states, like menopause, or other conditions. See your doctor for suspected imbalances in hormonal systems.
Hypertension-Induced Chronic Kidney DiseaseHypertension-induced chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a long-standing kidney condition that develops over time due to persistent or uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension).
Hypertensive Kidney DiseaseHigh blood pressure can damage the kidneys and is one of the leading causes of kidney failure (end-stage renal kidney disease). Kidney damage, like hypertension, can be unnoticeable and detected only through medical tests. If you have kidney disease, you should control your blood pressure. Other treatment options include prescription medications.
Kidney Disease QuizKidney disease is common. Take this kidney disease quiz to test your knowledge and learn the symptoms, causes and types of kidney disease and what foods to eat and avoid!
Kidney (Renal) Failure
Kidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss, dehydration, or medication. Some of the renal causes of kidney failure include sepsis, medications, rhabdomyolysis, multiple myeloma, and acute glomerulonephritis.
Post renal causes of kidney failure include bladder obstruction, prostate problems, tumors, or kidney stones.Treatment options included diet, medications, or dialysis.
Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), ARPKD, and ADPKDPolycystic kidney disease (PKD) is characterized by numerous cysts in the kidneys. Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder. There are two major inherited forms of PKD, autosomal dominant PKD, and autosomal recessive PKD. Symptoms include headaches, urinary tract infections, blood in the urine, liver and pancreatic cysts, abnormal heart valves, high blood pressure, kidney stones, aneurysms, and diverticulosis. Diagnosis of PKD is generally with ultrasound, CT or MRI scan. There is no cure for PKD, so treatment of symptoms is usually the general protocol.
What Are the Side Effects of Having Your Left Adrenal Gland Removed?The adrenal glands are triangular glands located above the kidneys. They provide essential hormones that control the body's fluid and salt regulation. They also produce hormones that control our fear, anger, blood pressure, muscle development, sexual drive and sugar metabolism. A laparoscopic adrenalectomy or adrenal gland removal procedure is necessary for some tumors.
What Are the Side Effects of Having Your Right Adrenal Gland Removed?The adrenal glands are triangular glands located above the kidneys. They provide essential hormones that control the body's fluid and salt regulation. They also produce hormones that control our fear, anger, blood pressure, muscle development, sexual drive and sugar metabolism. Right adrenal gland removal or adrenalectomy is indicated for tumors in the gland.
What Are the Signs That Something Is Wrong With My Kidneys?Most of the signs of kidney diseases are unnoticed, ignored, or appear very late in the disease. Over 37 million American adults have kidney diseases, and most are not aware of it.
Ways to Keep Your Kidneys HealthyYou might know that more than a drink or two a day is bad for your health. But in some cases, any alcohol at all may not be a great idea.
What Are the 5 Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease?The doctor will take your complete medical history along with your family history, such as if anyone in your family has or had diabetes, whether you are on any medications (that can cause kidney damage), and so on. They will perform a thorough physical examination to see if you have any signs or symptoms of CKD.