Addison's Disease (Adrenal Insufficiency): Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Addison's disease is a hormonal condition in which the adrenal glands do not function properly. Specifically, the adrenal glands do not produce enough of the hormone cortisol and, in some cases, the hormone aldosterone. Addison's disease is also known as adrenal insufficiency. There are different causes of Addison's disease. It can occur due to a problem with the adrenal glands themselves (primary adrenal insufficiency) or with the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, which regulates the function of the adrenal glands (known as secondary adrenal insufficiency). Other diseases and conditions can also cause decreased function of the adrenal glands.

Characteristic signs and symptoms of Addison's disease include weight loss and loss of appetite, fatigue, muscle weakness, and low blood pressure. Other associated signs and symptoms can include darkening of the skin, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Other addison's disease symptoms and signs

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.