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Addison's Disease

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.


It is possible that the main title of the report Addison's Disease is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • chronic adrenocortical insufficiency
  • primary adrenal insufficiency
  • primary failure adrenocortical insufficiency

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Addison's disease is a rare disorder characterized by inadequate production of the steroid hormones cortisol and aldosterone by the outer layer of cells of the adrenal glands (adrenal cortex). The symptoms of classic Addison's disease, also known as primary adrenal insufficiency, result from the insufficient production of these two hormones. Major symptoms include fatigue, gastrointestinal abnormalities, and changes in skin color (pigmentation). Behavior and mood changes may also occur in some individuals with Addison's disease. Increased excretion of water and low blood pressure (hypotension) can lead to extremely low concentrations of water in the body (dehydration). The symptoms of Addison's usually develop slowly, but sometimes can develop rapidly, a serious condition called acute adrenal failure. In most cases, Addison's disease occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the adrenal glands causing slowly progressive damage to the adrenal cortex.


National Adrenal Diseases Foundation

505 Northern Bloulevard

Great Neck, NY 11021


Tel: (516)487-4992

Fax: (516)829-5710



Hypoparathyroidism Association, Inc.

PO Box 2258

Idaho Falls, ID 83403

Tel: (866)213-0394

Fax: (205)524-3857

Tel: (866)213-0394



American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.

22100 Gratiot Ave.

Eastpointe, MI 48021

Tel: (586)776-3900

Fax: (586)776-3903

Tel: (800)598-4668



NIH/National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases

Office of Communications & Public Liaison

Bldg 31, Rm 9A06

31 Center Drive, MSC 2560

Bethesda, MD 20892-2560

Tel: (301)496-3583



MedicAlert Foundation International

2323 Colorado Avenue

Turlock, CA 95382


Tel: (209)669-2401

Fax: (209)669-2456

Tel: (888)633-4298



Hormone Health Network

8401 Connecticut Avenue

Suite 900

Chevy Chase, MD 20815-5817

Fax: (310)941-0259

Tel: (800)467-6663



Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126

Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126

Tel: (301)251-4925

Fax: (301)251-4911

Tel: (888)205-2311

TDD: (888)205-3223


Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Support Group

PO Box 66


Hauraki, 3641

New Zealand

Tel: 6433584507

Fax: 6433584506

Tel: 0800224698



Addison's Disease Self-Help Group (UK)

P.O. Box 1083

Guildford, Surrey, GU1 9HX

United Kingdom



Autoimmune Information Network, Inc.

PO Box 4121

Brick, NJ 08723

Fax: (732)543-7285


AutoImmunity Community



For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated:  6/28/2012

Copyright  1985, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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