Adrenal Insufficiency (Addison’s Disease)

An Overview

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH) describe Adrenal insufficiency as an endocrine, or hormonal, disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough of certain hormones. The adrenal glands are located just above the kidneys.

Adrenal insufficiency can be primary or secondary. Addison’s disease, the common term for primary adrenal insufficiency, occurs when the adrenal glands are damaged and cannot produce enough of the adrenal hormone cortisol. The adrenal hormone aldosterone may also be lacking. Addison’s disease affects 110 to 144 of every 1 million people in developed countries.

Secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs when the pituitary gland—a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain—fails to produce enough adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), a hormone that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce the hormone cortisol. If ACTH output is too low, cortisol production drops. Eventually, the adrenal glands can shrink due to lack of ACTH stimulation. Secondary adrenal insufficiency is much more common than Addison’s disease… 

Adrenal Insufficiency is not a once size fits all condition.  How you live with this will depend on factors such as other medical conditions and medication regime.  Each person with AI needs to work closely with their GP or Endocrinologist, to find what works best for them.

For more information on each type of AI, click the link here:

Primary Adrenal Insufficiency (Including Addison’s Disease)

Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency