Addison's disease occurs when the adrenal glands are harmed or injured, often when the immune system attacks the adrenal cortex. This is usually a result of an autoimmune disease, although it can also be caused by tuberculosis, genetic defects, surgical removal of the adrenal glands, or cancer or infection of, or bleeding into, the glands. Any of these factors can affect the glands' ability to produce hormones. Such causes result in a diagnosis of primary adrenal insufficiency.
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