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HealthInfo Canterbury

Addison's disease

Addison's disease is a very rare disease involving your adrenal glands. It is also called adrenal insufficiency.

You have two adrenal glands, which are just above your kidneys. They release two hormones: cortisol and aldosterone.

Cortisol has many roles in your body. It controls your blood pressure, immune system, and your blood sugar (glucose) levels.

Aldosterone controls the balance of salt and water in your body.

Addison's disease happens when your adrenal glands are damaged and no longer make enough of these important hormones.

If you have Addison's disease, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet or pendant so medical staff know how to treat you in an emergency. Search online for medical bracelets NZ to find medical bracelet suppliers.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Updated August 2016.

Page reference: 70626

Review key: HIADD-70626