Skin pigmentation in Addison's disease

Skin pigmentation in Addison's disease

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Credit: STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Skin pigmentation from Addison's disease. Light micrograph of a section through the skin of a patient with Addison's disease. Also called hypocortisolism, Addison's is a hormonal disorder where the adrenal glands do not produce sufficient quantities of steroid hormones. One of the primary symptoms is hyperpigmentation of the skin, where the colour of the skin darkens in areas that are not exposed to the sun, for example the palms of the hands and nipples. Here, the excess pigment is seen as dark spots where the epithelial skin layer (pink) meets the underlying layer (yellow). Other symptoms include vitiligo (patches of lightened skin), low blood pressure, low blood sugar, fainting, vomiting and convulsions. Treatment is with hormone therapy.

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