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Addison's Disease: Prevalence Among White Women

By HERWriter
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Autoimmunity is a major health issue among women, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc. Overall, autoimmune diseases affect 20 percent of Americans and 75 percent of those are likely women. There are also more than 80 autoimmune diseases that have been identified, according to the National Institute of Allergy an Infectious Diseases.

More specifically, Addison’s disease, also called primary adrenal insufficiency, is a type of autoimmune disease that affects the adrenal glands, according to the National Adrenal Diseases Foundation. One of the major causes of Addison’s disease is the near or total destruction of the adrenal cortex by antibodies, which attack the adrenal cortex’s cells. Of course, these antibodies are made unnecessarily by the body’s immune system.

Some common symptoms of Addison’s disease are fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, low blood pressure lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weak muscles, muscle spasms, irritability, depression, cravings for salty foods and a darkening of the skin, according to NADF.

Thankfully, Addison’s disease can be treated by medication and regular doctor visits.

Recently, Addison’s disease was in the news with the release of information on the late president John F. Kennedy. According to the Los Angeles Times, Kennedy had Addison’s disease, which may have been caused by a rare autoimmune disease. He also was later diagnosed with hypothyroidism. The two diseases have similar symptoms. Some of his relatives also had problems with Addison’s disease and an overactive thyroid.

It seems that research on Addison’s disease only started recently, considering that the NADF lists the first survey of people in North America with Addison’s disease happened in 1997.

In the survey of 699 respondents, 76.6 percent of those who had Addison’s disease were women. Of those with the specific disease, 98.6 percent were white. For those diagnosed with the disease, 28.7 percent took one to six months to arrive at the realization and correct diagnosis.

If you suffer any of the symptoms mentioned earlier and have a history of adrenal problems, it is best to see a doctor specifically to check on your adrenal glands. Especially for white women, more than one checkup might be required, since some doctors might not be familiar with the disease. According to the survey, 80.6 percent needed to see more than one doctor and 34.5 percent needed to see an endocrinologist to receive a proper diagnosis. Make sure to check your family history for other conditions that might not show up right away or that you are not familiar with.



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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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