Addison’s disease: Symptoms and causes

Symptoms

Addison’s disease symptoms usually develop slowly, often over several months, and may include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weight loss and decreased appetite
  • Darkening of your skin (hyperpigmentation)
  • Low blood pressure, even fainting
  • Salt craving
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle or joint pains
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Body hair loss or sexual dysfunction in women

Acute adrenal failure (addisonian crisis)

Sometimes, however, the signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease may appear suddenly. In acute adrenal failure (addisonian crisis), the signs and symptoms may also include:

  • Pain in your lower back, abdomen or legs
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration
  • Low blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • High potassium (hyperkalemia) and low sodium (hyponatremia)

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