Causes of Addison’s disease

Gradual destruction and/or shrinking of the adrenal cortex is the most common cause of Addison’s Disease. Autoimmune disorders are the cause in about 70 percent of all reported cases. Instead of identifying foreign invaders such as bacteria or viruses and killing them, the immune system makes antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues or organs and slowly destroys them. When at least 90 percent of the adrenal cortex has been destroyed, adrenal insufficiency, i.e., Addison’s Disease occurs. Tuberculosis accounts for about 20 percent of all cases in developed countries. Less common causes of Addison’s disease may be due to fungal infections; cancer cells spreading from other parts of the body to the adrenal glands; surgical removal of the adrenal glands and amyloidosis. In amyloidosis disease a starchy substance called amyloid is deposited in abnormal places throughout the body interfering with the function of whatever structure it is present within.

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