Addison's disease



An illness that happens when the body doesn't make enough of certain hormones.


Addison's disease is caused by damage to the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands make hormones that affect almost every organ and tissue in the body. Damage to these glands results in a shortage of one, and often two, key hormones. Another name for Addison's disease is adrenal insufficiency. The disease can affect anyone. It can be life-threatening.


Addison's disease symptoms tend to start slowly, often over months. The disease can cause extreme tiredness, weight loss and no appetite. Areas of skin might become darker. The stomach, muscles or joints may feel painful. A person also might feel irritated or depressed. Other symptoms can include upset stomach, vomiting and a craving for salt.


Medicine is the main treatment for Addison's disease. Lab-made versions of hormones can replace the hormones that the body doesn't make enough of. People with Addison's disease also need to get enough salt in the diet. This is especially true during heavy exercise and hot weather. Enough salt also is needed during digestive issues such as diarrhea.