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What causes secondary adrenal insufficiency?

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Secondary adrenal insufficiency starts with damage to your pituitary gland or to the part of your brain that controls it, called the hypothalamus. Conditions that can damage these parts include:

If you’ve had surgery for a condition called Cushing’s syndrome, you’re even more likely to get secondary adrenal insufficiency. In this procedure, surgeons remove pituitary gland tumors that were making extra adrenocorticotropic hormones. You’ll have to take hormone replacements until your body is able to make normal amounts of cortisol on its own. You can also get secondary adrenal insufficiency because of drugs called glucocorticoids, such as cortisone, hydrocortisone, prednisone, prednisolone, and dexamethasone.

  • Some inflammatory diseases
  • Cysts or tumors in your pituitary gland
  • Surgery or radiation to treat those tumors

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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What are adrenal glands and what is adrenal insufficiency?

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