Addison’s disease is a rare, chronic condition brought about by the failure of the adrenal glands. Lifelong, continuous treatment with steroid replacement therapy is required. Addison’s disease is not usually apparent until over 90% of the adrenal cortex has been destroyed, so that very little adrenal capacity is left. This can take months to years and is known as primary adrenal insufficiency. Symptoms of the disease, once advanced, can include severe fatigue and weakness, loss of weight, increased pigmentation.
Meeting a medical practitioner: Addison’s disease is treated with medication to replace the missing hormones. You'll need to take the medication for the rest of your life. With treatment, symptoms of Addison's disease can largely be controlled. Most people with the condition live a normal lifespan and are able to live an active life, with few limitations.However, many people with Addison's disease also find they must learn to manage bouts of fatigue and there may be associated health conditions, such as diabetes or an underactive thyroid.
Early-stage symptoms of Addison’s disease are similar to other more common health conditions, such as depression or flu. You may experience fatigue (lack of energy or motivation), muscle weakness, low mood, loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss, increased thirst.Over time, these problems may become more severe and you may experience further symptoms, such as dizziness, fainting, cramps and exhaustion. You may also develop small areas of darkened skin, or darkened lips or gums.Although these symptoms aren’t always caused by Addison’s disease, you should see your GP, so they can be investigated.