Secondary Addison's disease

Common Name(s)

Secondary Addison's disease

Secondary Addison’s disease happens when the pituitary gland doesn’t tell the adrenal gland to make enough hormones. The adrenal glands are located at the top of each kidney and make certain steroid hormones. Two of these hormones are cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol helps regulate blood sugar levels, how the body makes energy and how it responds to stress and injury. Aldosterone helps maintain blood pressure by balancing potassium, salt and fluid levels. When there isn’t enough of these two hormones, symptoms may include muscle weakness, weight loss, change in skin color, nausea, depression, and low blood pressure. Testosterone and progesterone levels (both sex hormones) may also be low causing loss of pubic and underarm hair. The symptoms can begin anytime during childhood or adulthood.

In secondary Addison’s disease, the adrenal glands can actually function fine. The pituitary gland tells the adrenal gland how much cortisol and aldosterone to release. The pituitary gland is a pea sized gland at the base of the brain. It talks to the adrenal gland by sending the hormone adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). If there is not enough ACTH sent to the adrenal gland, not enough cortisol and aldosterone will be released. A tumor or infection can cause the pituitary gland to not work well. Another cause of secondary Addison’s disease is long term use of corticosteroids (a steroid medication)

A diagnosis of secondary Addison’s disease can be confirmed by testing cortisol and aldosterone blood levels. The symptoms of Addison’s disease can be effectively treated with steroids and medication. Other diagnostic tests and treatments will likely be necessary to treat or cure the cause of the pituitary gland dysfunction. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with secondary Addison’s disease, talk with your doctor and specialists about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also a good source of information.

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Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Secondary Addison's disease" for support, advocacy or research.

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General Support Organizations

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Secondary Addison's disease" returned 4 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Addison's disease. Secondary adrenal failure in critically ill patients is underrecognised.
 

Author(s): C Granger

Journal: BMJ. 1996 Aug;313(7054):426-7.

 

Last Updated: 3 Oct 1996

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Addison's disease secondary to lymphomatous infiltration of the adrenal glands. Recovery of adrenocortical function after chemotherapy.
 

Author(s): R W Carey, N Harris, B Kliman

Journal: Cancer. 1987 Mar;59(6):1087-90.

 

This case represents the first known instance of reversal of Addison's disease after antineoplastic therapy. Malignant infiltration of the adrenal glands was demonstrated by cytologic findings of needle biopsy in a 57-year-old man suffering from disseminated large cell lymphoma and ...

Last Updated: 8 Apr 1987

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Addison's disease secondary to metastatic carcinoma: an example of adrenocortical and adrenomedullary insuffiency.
 

Author(s): W V Vieweg, R E Reitz, R L Weinstein

Journal: Cancer. 1973 May;31(5):1240-3.

 

Last Updated: 17 Jul 1973

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Secondary Addison's disease" returned 1 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Diagnosis--Addison's disease secondary to tuberculosis of the adrenal glands.
 

Author(s): Mrinal M Patnaik, Alaka K Deshpande

Journal: Clin Med Res. 2008 May;6(1):29.

 

Last Updated: 1 Jul 2008

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Clinical Trial Information This information is provided by ClinicalTrials.gov

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