Addison's Disease

What is Addison disease?

Addison disease is a rare disease in which the adrenal glands aren’t functioning properly, causing a hormonal disorder. Addison disease affects the body’s ability to respond to physical stress. It can occur at any age and develops when the body produces too little cortisol, a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels and metabolism. In addition, it can occur when the body produces insufficient levels of aldosterone, a hormone that controls sodium and potassium in the blood. 

Addison disease can be caused by a number of things, including autoimmune disease, infections, an X-linked trait blood loss and cancer. If left untreated, Addison disease can cause severe abdominal pain, weakness, low blood pressure, kidney failure and shock.

How we care for Addison disease

Addison disease is treated by the Boston Children's Division of Endocrinology, which provides comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and management for patients with disorders of the adrenal gland and other parts of the body associated with the endocrine system.

Our approach to treating Addison disease is both patient-focused and family-centered. The family is included in every stage of the treatment process.