Addison's Disease

(Adrenal Insufficiency; Adrenocortical Hypofunction; Chronic Adrenocortical Insufficiency; Hypoadrenalism)


Addison's disease is a rare disorder of the adrenal glands. With Addison's, the adrenal glands do not produce enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone.
Adrenal Glands
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Addison's occurs because of damage to the cortex.
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Addison's disease is the result of gradual damage to the outer layer of the adrenal gland. This damage may be caused by:
  • An autoimmune reaction—the body's own immune system attacks the gland
  • Tuberculosis
  • Bleeding within the adrenal glands—related to the use of anticoagulant medications and shock
  • Surgical complication
  • Conditions that are present at birth or due to genetic factors such as enzyme defects and familial glucocorticoid insufficiency
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection associated with AIDS
  • Fungal infections
  • Certain cancers, including those that have spread
  • Certain medications
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chronic disorders, such as:

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