14. Addison’s Disease
Addison’s Disease is a disorder that affects the adrenal glands in the kidneys. It’s quite uncommon, but it does inhibit the body’s ability to produce certain hormones. These hormones are usually cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol is the hormone released when a person is stressed; it releases sugar into the bloodstream and increases the ability of substances to repair damaged tissues. Aldosterone controls water and salts within the body; if it is too low, a person can experience dehydration, low sodium levels, and low blood pressure.
Without treatment of Addison’s disease, the condition can become life-threatening. The typical cure is hormone replacement therapy to balance the body’s chemistry. Symptoms of the disease include weight loss and decreased appetite, extreme fatigue, the craving for salt, muscle/joint pains, body hair loss, depression, and irritability. In some cases, the symptoms of the disease can appear quite suddenly, called acute adrenal failure. Symptoms include confusion, severe abdominal pain, reduced consciousness, lower back or legs pain, and extreme weakness.