Endocrinology: Addison’s Disease vs. Cushing’s Syndrome

Addison’s disease and Cushing’s syndrome can be both classified as disorders of adrenal glands. The latter has a capacity for secreting a number of hormones crucial for the human body. Those specific hormones include such important compounds as cortisol, aldosterone, and epinephrine (Tiemensma et al., 2011). Addison’s disease and Cushing’s syndrome affect adrenal glands in such a way that those diseases can become lethal if a patient does not receive the required treatment.

However, there are differences in terms of nursing, medical management, and interventions for the patients with Addison’s disease and Cushing’s syndrome. Cushing’s syndrome is usually managed by the use of corticosteroid medications, but nurses should monitor such symptoms as “moon face” (acne, blemishes, and oiliness), anxiety and disturbance, skin ulcers, and obesity of a central type, which indicate the problems with surpassing of adrenal hormones (Lewis, Dirksen, Heitkemper, & Bucher, 2014).

In the case of Addison’s disease, the adrenal hormone quantity is insufficient. Thus, nurses should monitor such symptoms as nausea and vomiting and give special consideration for nutrition management and keeping such patients hydrated.


Lewis, S. L., Dirksen, S. R., Heitkemper, M. M., & Bucher, L. (2014). Medical-Surgical Nursing. New York, NY: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Tiemensma, J., Kaptein, A. A., Pereira, A. M., Smit, J. W., Romijn, J. A., & Biermasz, N. R. (2011). Negative Illness Perceptions Are Associated with Impaired quality of Life in Patients after Long-Term Remission of Cushing’s Syndrome. European Journal of Endocrinology, 165(4), 527-535.

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