ALD is caused by an inherited defective gene.
In people with ALD, the body can not properly break down fatty acids. This results in a build up of saturated fatty acids in the brain and the adrenal cortex. This causes damage of the myelin sheath in the brain and the adrenal gland.
Factors that increase your chance for X-linked ALD include:
- Having a mother who carries the defective X-linked ALD gene
- Age: Childhood to young adult
- Sex: Male, although females may be affected