Do you know what Osama bin Laden and John F Kennedy have in common? They are both Addisonians! Addison's disease
is a rare endocrine disorder which occurs when the adrenal gland fails to produce the cortisol hormones -glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids. Also called hypocortisolism or adrenal insufficiency,
this life-threatening condition occurs at a frequency of 1 in 100,000, especially in those between the ages 30 to 50. However, it is also known to affect children.
Addison’s disease derives its name from the British physician Dr. Thomas Addison
who was the first to describe it in 1855.
The adrenal glands, situated at the top of the kidneys, are composed of an interior medulla
and an outer cortex.
The medulla produces adrenaline-like hormones while the cortex
produces the corticosteroids
(glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids) and the male sex hormones – the androgens. When the adrenal cortex fails to function, Addison’s disease results.