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Chronic adrenal insufficiency

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Chronic hypoadrenalism can be:

  • primary - inability of adrenal gland to elaborate sufficient adrenal steroid hormones (Addison's disease)
  • secondary - the basic failure is in the elaboration of ACTH

If treated, a normal life span can be expected.

Iatrogenic, tertiary adrenal insufficiency induced by chronic administration of high doses of glucocorticoids (GCs) is the most common cause of adrenal insufficiency (1)


  • Nicolaides NC, Pavlaki AN, Maria Alexandra MA, et al. Glucocorticoid Therapy and Adrenal Suppression. [Updated 2018 Oct 19]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA):, Inc.; 2000-.

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