Jefferson University Hospitals

Addison's Disease

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Addison's disease

If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with Addison's disease, also known as adrenal insufficiency, the goal of treatment will be to restore the adrenal glands to normal function, producing normal levels of corticosteroid hormones.

Jefferson endocrinologists provide expert evaluation and management of Addison's disease. Symptoms include fainting, hypoglycemia, weight loss, joint pains, muscle weakness and depression.

Diagnosing Addison's Disease

If your physician thinks that you have Addison's disease, the following tests may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis:

  • Blood test
  • ACTH stimulation test – measures level of cortisol in your blood before and after you're given adrenocorticotropic hormone
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Insulin-induced hypoglycemia test – to see if pituitary disease is a possible cause

Treating Addison's Disease

Since Addison's disease can be life-threatening, treatment often begins with administration of corticosteroids. You will have to continue taking corticosteroids the rest of your life.