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What are the different types of adrenal insufficiency?

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You can have either primary, secondary or tertiary adrenal insufficiency. Primary adrenal insufficiency is when your adrenal glands are damaged and can’t make the cortisol you need. They also might not make enough aldosterone. This condition is often called Addison’s disease. Secondary adrenal insufficiency is more common than Addison’s disease. The condition happens because of a problem with your pituitary gland, a pea-sized bulge at the base of your brain. It makes a hormone called adrenocorticotropin. This is the chemical that signals your adrenal glands to make cortisol when your body needs it. If your adrenal glands don’t get that message, they may eventually shrink. Tertiary starts in the hypothalamus, which is a small area located near the pituitary. It makes a hormone called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) which tells the pituitary to make ACTH. When the hypothalamus is not making enough CRH, then it affects the pituitary’s ability to produce ACTH , in turn keeping the adrenal glands from producing enough cortisol.

From: What Is Adrenal Insufficiency? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

National Adrenal Diseases Foundation: "Addison’s Disease."

Pituitary Network Association: "Adrenal Insufficiency (Addison’s Disease)."

National Organization for Rare Disorders: "Addison’s Disease."

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Adrenal Insufficiency & Addison’s Disease."

National Adrenal Diseases Foundation: "Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on August 12, 2019

SOURCES:

National Adrenal Diseases Foundation: "Addison’s Disease."

Pituitary Network Association: "Adrenal Insufficiency (Addison’s Disease)."

National Organization for Rare Disorders: "Addison’s Disease."

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Adrenal Insufficiency & Addison’s Disease."

National Adrenal Diseases Foundation: "Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency."

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on August 12, 2019

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