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Addison's Disease Diet

author image Jill Corleone, RDN, LD
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
Addison's Disease Diet
Older man reading medication label Photo Credit: Burlingham/iStock/Getty Images

Addison's disease, also called primary adrenal insufficiency, is a rare condition that affects your body's ability to produce adrenal hormones. Treatment for Addison's disease requires oral medications to replace these hormones, including corticosteroids and mineralocorticoids. There's no special diet you must follow with Addison's disease, but additional calcium and vitamin D may be beneficial and increasing your sodium intake may be recommended under certain circumstances.

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Calcium, Vitamin D and Corticosteroids

Young woman helping her grandmother walk down a wooded path
Young woman helping her grandmother walk down a wooded path Photo Credit: Lisa F. Young/iStock/Getty Images

Corticosteroids generally impact bone health by decreasing bone formation, and regular use of this medication may increase your risk of osteoporosis. Thirty to 50 percent of people taking corticosteroids for other conditions suffer from osteoporotic fractures, according to an April 2009 review article published in "Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Diseases." To prevent osteoporosis due to your long-term need for corticosteroids, your doctor may recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements. Including calcium- and vitamin D-rich foods may also help maintain bone health.

Sodium Intake

Older man feeling tired and exhausted while walking outside
Older man feeling tired and exhausted while walking outside Photo Credit: nandyphotos/iStock/Getty Images

Mineralocorticoids help the body maintain normal levels of sodium. People with untreated Addison’s disease have low levels of sodium, which can cause serious problems such as low blood pressure, seizures and even coma. Treatment with mineralocorticoids will maintain normal levels of sodium most of the time. However, if a lot of sodium is being lost from the body, as may occur with excessive sweating, sodium levels may fall. Talk to your doctor about whether you should increase your sodium intake in hot weather, especially if you are exercising outside.

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