Understanding Adrenal Insufficiency: Causes and Symptoms
Adrenal glands, located on top of the kidneys, produce various hormones. Adrenal insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce sufficient amounts of steroid hormones — primarily cortisol, which regulates sodium conservation, potassium secretion, and water retention.
The symptoms of adrenal insufficiency usually begin gradually. Chronic, worsening fatigue and muscle weakness, loss of appetite, and weight loss are characteristic of the disease. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea occur in about 50 percent of cases.