Addison’s Disease: What to Know and How to Fight

What happens if your adrenal glands produce too little cortisol, and perhaps an insufficient level of aldosterone, as well?

Addison’s disease is the end result and it can be life-threatening.

Treatment involves the patient undergoing hormone replacement therapy, but even with treatment, complications can arise.

Among the symptoms of Addison’s disease are:

  • salt cravings
  • diarrhea
  • extreme fatigue
  • depression
  • hyperpigmentation of the skin and/or gums
  • joint pain

But what is the cause?

Each of us has two adrenal glands that are located just above the kidneys. If the adrenal glands are damaged, the production of cortisol and aldosterone is limited. And while many people report that their condition was a slow progression, a string of health problems can arise such as:

  • inflammatory responses to stress,
  • the body not maintaining normal levels of sodium/potassium; and
  • in the most extreme cases, death.

A young lady named Mary, who lives in Ohio, knows all about Addison’s disease.

She came very close to passing away from Addison’s, but fortunately it was caught in time.

Mary is a fighter, and right now, she’s coping with the onset of liver failure, which doctors believe is a result of her many years of hormone replacement therapy.

She’s working to raise awareness about this rare disease so that others won’t have to suffer as she has.


Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn is passionate about raising awareness of rare diseases and disorders and helping people connect with the resources that may ease their journey. Erica has been a caregiver, and is a patient, herself, so she completely relates to the rare disease community--on a deeply personal level.

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