Addison’s Disease | Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of Addison’s disease?

The symptoms of Addison’s disease usually develop over a period of several months. Many of the symptoms of Addison’s disease are nonspecific. This means that at first, it may be hard for you or your doctor to figure out exactly what is wrong. Common symptoms of Addison’s disease may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Changes in mood or personality, such as irritability, anxiety, or depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Darkening of the skin (called hyperpigmentation)
  • Lightheadedness or fainting upon standing, most often caused by low blood pressure
  • Cravings for salty foods

Sometimes, the symptoms of Addison’s disease appear suddenly, or quickly get worse. This is called acute adrenal failure or an Addisonian crisis. It can cause death if it isn't treated. If you have any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor or go to an emergency room right away:

  • Sudden, severe pain in the abdomen, lower back, or legs
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration
  • Fainting (loss of consciousness)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Confusion or slurred speech
  • Sluggish movements, or serious muscle weakness
  • Seizures
  • High fever

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 09/07

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