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.
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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:
- The body's own immune system attacking the gland—known as an autoimmune disease.
- 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, including:
- Cancer including metastases from:
- Medications such as ketoconazole or etomidate
- Radiation treatment
- Chronic illness, including:
Last reviewedMay 2014by Kim Carmichael, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.