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Addison's disease, which is also called primary adrenal insufficiency, is a condition in which the adrenal glands do not make enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. The two adrenal glands are located above each kidney.
The disease causes blood pressure to drop and causes potassium to build up to dangerous levels. If Addison's disease is not treated, it can suddenly get worse and become life-threatening. This is called an adrenal crisis(addisonian crisis).
Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse gradually.
This condition cannot be cured, but it can be managed with medicines that replace cortisol and aldosterone.
Illness, stress, and surgery can increase your body's need for cortisol. It is very important that you talk with your health care provider and understand how to adjust your medicine dosages if you become ill or stressed or if you are going to have surgery.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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