Addison’s disease: Signs and symptoms

Addison’s disease is a condition where the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones. In this article, we outline the symptoms.

Diagnosing Addison’s disease, also called adrenal insufficiency, can take some time because the initial signs and symptoms are similar to several other conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, the flu, and depression.

Signs and symptoms tend to develop slowly and may take some time to be recognized.

Initial symptoms

Fainting is one of the more dramatic symptoms of Addison's disease.
Fainting is one of the more dramatic symptoms of Addison’s disease.

Initial signs and symptoms include:



lack of motivation, lack of drive

drowsiness and lethargy

muscle weakness


mild depression, changes in mood and personality

hypovolemia – or low blood volume

unintentional weight loss

loss of body hair

lack of appetite

hypotension – low blood pressure

difficulty in standing up






muscle and joint pain

craving for foods with a high salt content, due to urinary loss of sodium

hypoglycemia – low blood sugar


irregular menstrual periods, in some cases periods are missed completely

sexual dysfunction (in women)

psychosis (very rare)

Some individuals may experience orthostatic hypotension, a sudden drop in blood pressure, especially when going from seating or lying position to standing. TYhis can cause fainting.

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