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Addison’s disease is a medical condition in which your adrenal glands don’t produce enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. The adrenal glands are small glands that are located on top of each of your kidneys. These glands play a very important role in your health because they produce hormones that you need to regulate your body.

Cortisol is a hormone that helps your body respond to stress. This could be any kind of stress, including pain, illness, injury or surgery. Additionally, Cortisol helps maintain your blood pressure and heart function. It also helps maintain your immune system, blood sugar levels, and reduce inflammation.

Aldosterone is another important hormone. Aldosterone maintains the balance of salt and potassium in your blood. Sodium and potassium work together to help keep your blood pressure stable. This helps your body maintain normal nerve and muscle function. Finally, this hormone also helps controls the amount of fluid your kidneys remove as urine.

Addison’s disease is also known as primary adrenal insufficiency. Acute adrenal failure is a major cause of death. If you have acute adrenal failure your life expectancy is shorter than normal. For women, on average, adrenal failure shortens life expectancy by three years. For men, life expectancy is shortened by 11 years.


The most common cause of Addison’s disease is an autoimmune response. This occurs when your immune system attacks the healthy tissue of the body for an unknown reason. With Addison’s disease, your immune system attacks the outer portion of your adrenal glands where cortisol and aldosterone are made.

Women are more likely than men to be found to have Addison’s disease. Additionally, the disease usually occurs in people between the ages of 30 and 50. However,  it can occur at any age, even in children.

The most serious problem of adrenal insufficiency is called adrenal crisis. If you do not seek treatment right away, an adrenal crisis can cause death. Your body needs more cortisol during times of stress such as illness or injury. The lack of enough cortisol during times of stress can cause severe problems with low blood pressure, low blood glucose, low blood sodium, and too much potassium.

Additionally, the lack of aldosterone in Addison’s disease can cause hyponatremia. This occurs when you don’t have enough sodium in your blood. Hyponatremia has specific symptoms, like confusion, fatigue, and even seizures. If you lack aldosterone, then it can cause you to have too much potassium in your body. The reason this matters is that too much potassium can cause life threatening changes in your heart rhythm.

If your doctor suspects that you have Addison’s disease, then you will have a blood test to measure the levels of sodium, cortisol and potassium in your body.

 ADDISON'S DISEASE sign being held by female doctor


Because the hormones produced by your adrenal glands are critical to maintaining a healthy body, the symptoms of Addison’s disease vary widely. Some can be mild symptoms, while others can be so severe that they result in death. Addison’s symptoms can include:

  • weight loss
  • appetite loss
  • changes in blood pressure or heart rate
  • extreme fatigue
  • chronic diarrhea
  • nausea or vomiting
  • dizzyness
  • joint and muscle pain
  • anxiety

If you have these symptoms, your doctor will do blood work to check for hypoglycemia, electrolyte abnormalities, and adrenal insufficiency. Likewise, your doctor will do a urinalysis test to check for high blood pressure. Your doctor should also perform a physical exam in order to check for anemia. Thyroid function tests may follow in order to check for low thyroid hormone production. Finally, your doctor may also check your heart by doing an electrocardiogram (EKG). An EKG is used to diagnose an enlarged heart or abnormal heart rhythm.

Other medical conditions can also come from Addison’s disease. For example, Addison’s disease, because it is an endocrine disorder, can cause diabetes. Likewise, osteoporosis and high blood pressure can also stem from the disease.


There are many factors that determine whether or not you will be paid SSD benefits. One of the main factors is whether or not the person has a physical or mental impairment that results in their inability to work for more than 12 months.

If you are suffering from Addison’s disease, then you may qualify for SSD benefits. However, Addison’s disease can be treated with hormone therapy. If your Addison’s disease is treatable and your symptoms are controlled, then you should be able to work and you do not qualify for SSDI benefits. If the symptoms of your Addison’s disease keeps you from working for over 12 months, you should apply for SSDI and SSI benefits.

Most of the time, if a person suffers from Addison’s disease, they may qualify for SSD benefits if they also have some other physical or mental condition such as anxiety disorder. Learn more here about SSDI benefits for anxiety disorder.


You can apply for SSDI and SSI benefits for Addison’s disease online at the Social Security’s website. This is the easiest way to apply for benefits. If you have questions about how to apply, you can contact Cannon Disability Law and we will help you with your application.

You can also file an application for SSD and SSI benefits in person at your local Social Security office. However, you should call and schedule an appointment to make sure that an SSA worker is available to help you with the application. It is not a good idea to show up to your local office without an appointment. If you do so, you will wait in a long line. Additionally, it is possible to file an application by phone at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778).

After you file your application, the SSA will need you to fill out a medical release form. This form allows SSA to gather your medical records. You will also need to sign your application. Finally, you will need to submit your medical records. Learn more here about the importance of medical evidence to prove your disability case.


Addison’s disease is considered under the disability listing for endocrine disorders because it’s a type of adrenal gland disorder. The listing for endocrine disorders is a bit different than other SSA listings, because it encompasses other medical conditions. For example, the endocrine disorder listing refers you to the other SSA listings for the major body systems that are affected by the condition.

Depending on the symptoms that are caused by your Addison’s, you might meet the elements of one or more of the following listings:

Cardiovascular System: Section 4.02- Chronic heart failure and Section 4.05- Recurrent arrhythmias

Digestive System: Section 5.08 Weight loss due to a digestive disorder

Mental Disorders: Section 12.06- Anxiety disorders

Immune Disorders: Section 14.11 – Human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV)

If your condition doesn’t meet one of the above listings, you might still qualify for SSD benefits if the SSA determines that you can’t work. They will decide this issue by looking at your residual functional capacity.


In order to determine if you cannot work, the SSA will assess your physical and mental limits. This is known as your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). Your RFC is what you can do during an 8 hour work day despite your Addison’s disease.

Your RFC includes both your physical and mental limits. In terms of physical ability, the SSA tries to define your ability to sit, stand, walk, and lift, during the course of an 8 hour workday. Likewise, the SSA will include your ability to carry, pull, and push. Find out more about how the SSA defines work here.

Your RFC also includes your mental symptoms. The SSA looks at whether your Addison’s disease creates problems in your ability to focus and whether you can get along with other people. They look at how your mental symptoms affect your ability to work. For example, are you able to respond to criticism from your boss and can you handle stress and pressure in a work setting. For those with Addison’s disease, anxiety and depression can make working a 40 hour work week very difficult.


In order to determine your RFC, the SSA first looks to the medical evidence in your case. That is why it is so important for the SSA to have all of your medical evidence. It is your “burden” or responsibility to provide all of your medical evidence to the SSA. Even though the SSA will try to collect your records, it is up to you to make sure they have everything.

Typically, hiring a lawyer to help you obtain your medical evidence is a wise choice. Learn more here about how to obtain your medical evidence for free.  If you do not have enough medical evidence for the SSA to make a decision, then they will arrange for your to have a consultative examination (CE). A CE can be done for your mental and your physical conditions, including Addison’s disease. Find out more information about consultative examinations here.


You do not need to try to win SSDI and SSI benefits by yourself. Cannon Disability Law can help file your disability application. Also, we can help you appeal every SSA denial. That way, you can focus on your health. For example, our attorneys and staff can:

If you file your application for benefits online at Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to complete the application. Once you submit your application online, the SSA sends you an application summary in the mail. You must sign the summary and mail it back. Send it in quickly.

Additionally, once you receive a denial, you have 60 days to file an appeal. You must also meet the time limit set by the SSA. If you do not, then you will have to start the process over again. That means you will lose any benefits you could receive on any prior application.


To learn about your legal options, contact Cannon Disability Law.  Speak to one of our attorneys and our intake staff today. Additionally, you can also contact us online and we will call you. We offer a free review of your case. Also, we can often tell you whether or not you have a good chance of winning benefits.

Our attorneys practice in Utah, California, and Nevada. We also represent clients in Idaho, Colorado and other states. Find out more information about Utah disability benefits here. If you need information about Nevada disability benefits read here. We have helped many clients file their SSD application who have Addison’s disease.

Our main office is in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, there are also hearing offices in Las Vegas, Boise, San Francisco and Oakland. If you need more information about California disability benefits, then read here. Our office represents clients in court in all of these places.

We are also familiar with the Social Security laws where you live. Additionally, understanding the medical evidence that the judge needs to see will help you win your case. It also helps us present the best arguments in court. If we accept your case, we will drive or fly (at no cost to you) to the SSA office nearest you for your hearing. Therefore, we can help you no matter where you live. If you need to apply for SSD benefits, contact us today.


You also need an attorney with experience to represent you in court. Find out here what medical evidence you need to submit to win your disability hearing.

At Cannon Disability Law, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI cases. We have the experience that you need to win your SSD and SSI benefits for Addison’s disease.  If you need a lawyer at your hearing, contact Cannon Disability Law. Put our experience to work for you.

If you want to learn more about the lawyers and staff at Cannon Disability Law you can go to our About Us page. For example, Andria Summers can help you prepare for your hearing. She has also won thousands of Social Security cases. Dianna Cannon has been helping claimants win benefit for over thirty years. Brett Bunkall also has years of experience helping people obtain their SSI and SSD benefits.

In the past 30 years, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI cases for our clients. Our lawyers and staff can help you apply for SSD benefits. Likewise, if you need an appeal, we can help you do that too. You can learn more about SSA’s appeal forms here. Call us for free today.

In the past 30 years, we have won over $100 million in SSD and SSI benefits for our clients. If you need our help, then call us. We are experts at what we do and we will put our legal knowledge to work for you. Hire us to be your Social Security legal team for you Addison’s case. There is no attorney fee for you to pay until we win your benefits.


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