In 2017, new research was published regarding mortality and primary adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease). In 2020 at the start of the COVID outbreak, the research went viral in our community, as people were searching for information, trying to learn how the COVID virus may impact them, and if this research may apply to the pandemic.

The research titled: “Primary adrenal insufficiency is associated with impaired natural killer cell function: a potential link to increased mortality”, involved a 'cross-sectional study of 42 patients with PAI due to autoimmune adrenalitis or bilateral adrenalectomy and 58 sex- and age-matched controls'.

Professor Wiebke Arlt, one of the researchers behind the research, kindly provides her perspective on what this research means for those with primary adrenal insufficiency in the current climate. We've collated her thoughts on this below for those without a Twitter account.


We are grateful to Professor Arlt for responding with her view on the research and its implications.

If you feel concerned or are looking for more information, please visit our Sanctuary of Support page. There you can choose the section that suits the way you are feeling today and find out the support we have on offer for you.

Professor Wiebke Arlt MD DSc FRCP FMedSci

Twitter: @WiebkeArlt

Read: Irina Bancos, Jon Hazeldine, Vasileios Chortis, Peter Hampson, Angela E Taylor, Janet M Lord, Wiebke Arlt, Primary adrenal insufficiency is associated with impaired natural killer cell function: a potential link to increased mortality, European Journal of Endocrinology, Volume 180, Issue 6, Jun 2019, Page X5,
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Learn more about the Sick Day Rules.

People with Addison's and adrenal insufficiency are particularly vulnerable to adrenal crisis being triggered by seemingly "minor" ailments, including vomiting, diarrhoea, colds and flu. It's important to recognise the early symptoms of a bug or cold and adjust steroid replacement medication accordingly. These guidelines are known as the Sick Day Rules.

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