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You have been diagnosed with Addison’s disease, which occurs when your adrenal glands don’t produce enough of the hormone cortisol. In some cases, the adrenal glands also don’t produce enough aldosterone, also a hormone. This disease is sometimes called adrenal insufficiency or hypocortisolism. A flare-up is called an addisonian crisis. Here’s what you can do at home to care for yourself.
Take steps to protect yourself from addisonian crisis.
Take your medication.
Avoid getting dehydrated. Drink plenty of fluids.
Stay healthy. Avoid crowds during cold and flu season.
Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently.
Ask your doctor about vaccinations to help keep you healthy.
Increase your salt intake. Examples of salty foods are canned soups and potato chips. Use table salt where needed.
Treat minor flare-ups with extra salt and fluids. It is very important to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Take all medications exactly as directed. You will need to take replacement hormones for the rest of your life.
Get a medical identification bracelet that says, “Addison’s disease: steroid replacement required daily.” Wear it at all times in case of emergency.
Be sure to tell all your healthcare professionals (including dentists, surgeons, and specialists) that you have Addison’s disease.
Carry a steroid injection kit for emergencies as directed by your doctor. You might need an emergency shot if you are in an accident. Your dose may need to be doubled or tripled if you are injured or become seriously ill. Ask your doctor to explain when and why you might need to increase your steroid dose.
Before you have a surgical procedure, tell your doctor or surgeon that you have Addison’s disease. Your steroid dose may need to be increased.
Keep your regular follow-up appointments with your doctor.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:
Tiredness or weakness
Loss of appetite or weight loss
Dizziness when you stand up after sitting or lying down
Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Sharp pain in your lower back, abdomen, or legs
Infection of any kind
A fever of 100.4°F or higher