Addison Disease and Type 1 Diabetes
Addison disease is an autoimmune disease. Type 1 diabetics have a higher risk of developing this condition because of this factor.
Addison disease is a disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol, and in some cases aldosterone. The symptoms of this disorder are:
weakness of the muscles
low blood pressure
darkened patches of the skin
The adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys make two very important hormones. Cortisol is one of these hormones and has many functions throughout your body. Cortisol creates for example, the responses to stress and helps maintain the blood pressure and cardiac functions. This slows the immune systems inflammatory response. In turn, blood sugar levels are raised in stress or in a fasting state. Cortisol then helps regulate the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The pituitary gland is responsible for controlling amounts of cortisol and regulated in the brain region known as the hypothalamus. The Aldosterone is what aids the kidneys to retain sodium and also to put out potassium, which then helps control blood pressure and balance out salt and water in the body.
In many cases of Addison, destruction of the adrenal cortex is what brings on the condition. What happens then is cortisol levels become decreased to a large degree along with aldosterone levels. Many people who have this problem will experience an overall unwellness with nausea and vomiting and diarrhea as well. Low blood pressure develops causing dizziness or fainting spells.
This adrenal disorder is treated by replacing the missing hormones that the adrenal glands no longer produce. Hydrocortisone is taken once or twice a day to replace the cortisol. A drug called Florinef can be taken twice a day if there is a deficiency in aldosterone.
Type 1 diabetics as mentioned have a higher risk overall of developing multiple autoimmune diseases due to the weakened autoimmune system already. Many people don't know realize they have developed this adrenal problem until they run into sudden penetrating pain in the lower back or legs. There might be sudden severe diarrhea and vomiting along with dehydration, low blood pressure and unconsciousness. This is referred to as an Addison's crisis and calls for immediate help.
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