In the ., the most common cause (about 75%) of primary adrenal insufficiency in adults is an autoimmune process. It may occur with other autoimmune conditions that affect other glands, such as the thyroid. The rest of the time, Addison disease is due to other causes, such as tuberculosis , a common cause in areas of the world where tuberculosis is more prevalent , other chronic infections, especially fungal infections , bleeding into the adrenal glands ( hemorrhage ) and the spread of cancer into the adrenal glands. Rarely, it may be due to a genetic abnormality of the adrenal glands.
Another important aspect to consider is how your current medications might be affecting your adrenals in a negative way. It’s possible that adrenal insufficiency can develop when a person taking glucocorticoid hormones (like prednisone) for a long time, which act similarly to cortisol, suddenly stops taking those medications. If you’re on any prescriptions for treating inflammatory illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, asthma or ulcerative colitis , talk to your doctor about how to adjust your dosage appropriately before changing them yourself since these can lower ACTH and cortisol.
Endocrinologists are specialists in hormonal diseases, including adrenal and pituitary conditions that cause secondary adrenal insufficiency. An endocrinologist will have more training and experience in properly diagnosing and treating secondary adrenal insufficiency than most physicians. Most cases of permanent secondary adrenal insufficiency should be managed by an endocrinologist. In cases of steroid withdrawal for the treatment of medical conditions, endocrinologists often work with the primary physician or specialist in that disease to assess the recovery of pituitary-adrenal reserve and provide guidance about whether long term glucocorticoid therapy is needed.