Addison’s disease is a medical condition that occurs when the body’s endocrine system does not produce sufficient adrenal hormones, especially cortisol and aldosterone. Insufficient adrenal hormone production affects many functions in the body which leads to Addison’s disease, or primary adrenal insufficiency.
Most cases of adrenal insufficiency result from an autoimmune disorder known as adrenalitis that causes the immune system to attack and damage cells of the adrenal glands. Adrenal insufficiency may also develop due to other diseases and infections like tuberculosis, cancers, damage to the adrenal glands, fungal infections and HIV.
Addison’s disease is rare; affecting 1 to 6 people per 100,000. And while it is impossible to clear it from the body, it is possible to manage the disease through hormone replacement. The following includes the top 10 Addison’s disease symptoms to watch out for:
Symptom #1: Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of Addison’s disease. This is understandable considering that adrenal hormones have a role in energy metabolism. This means that when the adrenal glands don’t produce adequate amounts of adrenal hormones, the body is unable to produce all the energy that it requires for its various functions.
Consequently, some body functions slow down and you might not feel as energetic as usual. When this goes on for some time, it presents as chronic tiredness, lack of energy and fatigue. Adrenal hormones are also involved in the regulation of electrolyte and body fluid balance; factors that affect blood pressure. Without adequate adrenal hormone production, poor control of sodium-potassium and body fluid balance lead to low blood pressure compounding the feeling of weakness.