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Adrenal Fatigue or Addison's Disease?

Updated on November 16, 2017
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In October of 2016, our family's life was forever changed when my wife was diagnosed with Addison's Disease.

Is it Adrenal Fatigue, or Addison's Disease?

One of the common misconceptions people have about Addison's is that the disease is "just adrenal fatigue". The goal of this post is to inform people about the differences between Addison's Disease, and Adrenal Fatigue.

You'll learn about the symptoms of each ailment, the tests you can take if you think you might have Addison's, and some recommendations for you if you suspect Adrenal Fatigue.


Before we proceed, this is a reminder that we are not doctors or medical professionals. The advice found on this post and on this website is based purely on the research we have done to help us have a better understanding of Addison's Disease and similar ailments that our readers may experience. Prior to making any health or diet changes, we encourage you to consult a doctor.

Addison's Disease Symptoms

  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Low Blood Pressure / Dizziness
  • Hyperpigmentation (skin discoloration)
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Nausea
  • Inability to cope with stress
  • Moodiness / Depression
  • Hot/Cold Intolerance
  • Salt cravings

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

  • Lack of Energy
  • Hair Loss
  • Lowered immunity
  • Back and Neck Pain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dry skin
  • Indigestion
  • Low body temperature
  • Depression
  • Low Sex Drive
  • Infections that last longer than usual

If you have a combination of any of the symptoms outlined above we recommend you have a conversation with your doctor. Addison's Disease occurs because a patient's adrenal glands have been destroyed and can no longer produce the proper levels of Cortisol. Addison's can be a fatal condition if not treated properly.

Going to the Doctor - What to Expect

There are four main tests that your doctor may put you through to determine whether or not you have Addison's Disease

  1. Blood Test
  2. ACTH Stimulation Test
  3. Insulin-induced Hypoglycemia Test
  4. Imaging Tests

If the blood test and ACTH Stimulation tests show that your body is still producing adequate levels of Cortisol, but you're experiencing some of the symptoms from above, your adrenal glands may be fatigued. There are a few steps you can take to help reduce stress on your adrenal glands.

Are Your Guts Leaking?

Gut health isn’t just about poop, gas, bloating, and acid reflux. It’s much more than that. With 80% of your immune system located in your gut and 95% of your serotonin, our digestive tract is linked to every other organ and system in the body.

It turns out having a Leaky Gut can cause problems everywhere in the body, giving you symptoms like:

  • Low energy or Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Weight gain and stubborn fatness
  • Sugar cravings
  • Skin problems like pimples, rashes, or dryness
  • Frequent sickness
  • Achy joints and muscles
  • Depression
  • PMS
  • Anxiety

Sound familiar? Find out if you might have leaky gut by taking the Leaky Gut Quiz.

3 More Steps To Help Treat Adrenal Fatigue

  1. Adopt a healing diet by eliminating caffeine, sugars, starchy carbs, processed foods, and hydrogenated oils. This first one we recommend if you have Addison's or Adrenal Fatigue... The benefits are just too good to pass up!!!
  2. Take adrenal supporting supplements and herbs.
  3. REDUCE STRESS! Sleep 8+ hours and maintain a consistent sleep schedule, avoid negative people and self-talk, do something for you every day, and exercise.

Wrap Up

The symptoms of Addison's disease and adrenal fatigue are serious, and it's important that you address your health with a doctor as soon as a combination of any of the symptoms mentioned above present themselves. If you have additional advice on how to handle Addison's or Adrenal Fatigue symptoms, leave us a note!


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