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Long-term underfunction of theAddison disease: Long-term underfunction of theouter portion of the adrenal gland. In medical terms, chronic insufficiency of the adrenalcortex. This may be due to a number of different insults to the adrenal including physicaltrauma, hemorrhage, and tuberculosis of the adrenal, and destruction of the cells in thepituitary gland that secrete ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) which normally drives theadrenal. Addison's disease is characterized by bronzing of the skin, anemia,weakness, and low blood pressure. The U.S. President J.F. Kennedy is said to have hadAddison disease. Named after the British physician Thomas Addison (1793-1860).When Addison first identified adrenal insufficiency in 1849, tuberculosis (TB) was responsible for 70-90% of cases. As the treatment for TB improved, the incidence of adrenal insufficiency due to TB of the adrenal glands greatly decreased. TB now accounts for around 20% of cases of primary adrenal insufficiency in developed countries.



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