Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Adrenal Insufficiency Underlying Cause

There are two types of Addison's disease:

  • Primary Addison's disease
  • Secondary Addison's disease

In both cases, there is insufficient production of adrenal hormones.

Adrenal Insufficiency Primary Disease

In primary Addison's disease, the adrenal gland is damaged by the immune system, which normally fights infection. For some reason, the immune system mistakenly attacks the adrenal gland, damaging the cells, which reduces the production of adrenal hormones.

Adrenal Insufficiency Secondary Disease

Secondary Addison's disease is caused by the malfunction of pituitary gland, or hypothalamus, which normally stimulates the adrenal glands to produce hormones. If the pituitary gland does not stimulate the adrenal glands, then the adrenal glands do not produce hormones.

Continue to Adrenal Insufficiency Anatomy

Last Updated: Nov 9, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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