Addison’s Disease is a Pain in the You-Know-What

If you’re like me, you nearly jump out of your skin when somebody makes a loud, unexpected noise nearby. Like the sneaky garbage truck that silently slides up to the dumpster, quietly forklifts that sucker up, and then drops it on the way down – BOOM!! Yup. A little part of me dies every time that happens. My response is actually what is called “fight or flight,” and is caused by the sudden release of certain hormones.

If I had Addison’s Disease, it would be a different story.

Addison’s disease occurs when the adrenal glands are damaged and fail to produce sufficient amounts of certain hormones. This is called “adrenal insufficiency.” Without treatment, it can be fatal. Adrenal hormones, such as cortisol and aldosterone are adrenal hormones and they regulate the body’s metabolism, blood pressure, the way the body uses food for energy, and how it responds to stress.  The most common symptoms of adrenal insufficiency include:

  • chronic fatigue
  • appetite loss
  • pain in the abdomen
  • weight loss
  • weakened muscles

Addison’s Disease is treated with hormone replacement therapy, but there are a number of holistic approaches that can complement traditional treatment.

Tai chi, yoga, and meditation are all helpful, but if you are going to begin a physical exercise program, or add herbal supplements to your diet, talk to your doctor, first! 

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn is passionate about raising awareness of rare diseases and disorders and helping people connect with the resources that may ease their journey. Erica has been a caregiver, and is a patient, herself, so she completely relates to the rare disease community--on a deeply personal level.

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