Adrenal glands are small organs that are situated at the top of both the kidneys and make hormones. The hormones in our body help in regulating various functions of the body such as regulating blood pressure, maintaining blood sugar and many other important functions of our body. When these adrenal glands do not work properly, it causes hormonal disturbance in our body and does not make enough hormones. Addison’s disease is the condition in which the body does not produce enough hormones and that causes low blood pressure, weakness, fatigue, weight loss and weakness in a person. It can sometimes be very serious and life-threatening.


The most common symptoms are:

  • Weakness, tiredness.
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite.

Other symptoms are:

  • Darkening of skin especially over face, neck, and hands.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Dizziness and feeling of lightheadedness.
  • Muscles and joint pain.
  • Craving salt.
  • Loss of hair from armpits, and pubic region (in women).

Severe and life-threatening symptoms are also known as “adrenal crisis:”

  • Fever and weakness.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Confusion.
  • Going into shock or loss of consciousness.

Adrenal crisis happens when a person is under stress such as injury or infection or it can also happen when a person is not taking the medications properly.

Diagnostic Tests

After learning about the symptoms, doctor will perform a physical examination and will advise for certain tests such as:

Blood tests to check for blood cortisol levels, which is an important hormone which is produced by the adrenal glands and in a person with Addison’s disease do not make enough hormone.


Addison’s disease is treated with hormone replacement therapy in which two different hormones are taken and are taken throughout life.