What You Need To Know About Steroids And Its Side Effects

Corticosteroids, widely known as steroids, are a type of anti-inflammatory medication. Steroids are synthetic or human-made versions of hormones produced naturally by the adrenal glands, which are two tiny glands located above the kidneys.

SteroidsWhat You Need To Know About Steroids

Rheumatologic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and vasculitis are commonly treated with them (inflammation of the blood vessels). The drugs cortisone and prednisone are examples of specific corticosteroids.

Steroids diminish redness and swelling when taken at higher levels than your body generates naturally (inflammation). Inflammatory disorders like asthma and eczema can benefit from this.

Steroids also lower the immune system’s functioning, which is the body’s natural defense against disease and infection.

This can aid in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, which are caused by the immune system attacking the body incorrectly.

When taken in higher doses than your body produces naturally, steroids reduce redness and swelling (inflammation). This can help with inflammatory diseases including asthma and eczema.

Steroids also impair the immune system’s ability to fight disease and infection, which is the body’s natural defensive system.

This could help with autoimmune illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, which are caused by the immune system attacking the body in the wrong way.

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How do steroids work?

Steroids function by lowering inflammation and immune system activity. Inflammation is a process used by the body’s white blood cells and chemicals to fight infection and foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. However, the body’s defensive system (immune system) does not work effectively in several disorders.

Inflammation may operate against the body’s tissues, causing damage. Steroids inhibit the formation of inflammatory molecules. This helps to keep tissue injury to a minimum. Steroids also suppress the immune system’s activity by altering the function of white blood cells.

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What are the advantages of taking steroids?

SteroidsWhen inflammation affects key body organs, steroids can save the organs and, in many cases, save lives.

Steroids, for example, may prevent renal inflammation from escalating, which could lead to kidney failure in persons with lupus or vasculitis. Steroid medication may be able to eliminate the requirement for kidney dialysis or transplantation in these patients.

For those with rheumatoid arthritis, low dosages of steroids may provide significant pain and stiffness alleviation. Short-term usage of larger dosages of steroids may aid recovery from a severe arthritic flare-up.

Some patients will experience side effects, like with any medication. If you’re on a high dose or have been on steroids for a long period, you’re more likely to experience these side effects.

To keep your condition under control, the person treating you will make sure you’re on the smallest dose possible. To protect your stomach, you may be prescribed a proton pump inhibitor or another medication.

The following are some of the steroid’s side effects:

1. Tablets, liquids, and soluble tablets

  • Stomach pains or Indigestion
  • Sleep problems
  • Bruising easily
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Stretch marks
  • Changes in mood
  • Weight gain and increased appetite

2. Cream and Gels

  • Burning where the cream has been applied
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Stretch marks
  • Increased hair growth where the cream has been applied.
  • Changes in skin color

3. Eye drops and ointments

  • After using the drops, you have a strange taste on your tongue.
  • After putting drops in your eyes, you may experience stinging or burning.

Steroid treatment may cause mood swings – you may feel elated or depressed. This may be more common in people who have previously experienced mood swings. If you’re concerned about this, speak with the doctor who prescribed your steroids.

Taking steroid medications for an extended period of time can increase your risk of infection. It’s important to inform your doctor or rheumatology nurse if you feel feverish or sick after starting steroids, or if you develop any new symptoms.

If you have chickenpox, shingles, or measles, or if you come into touch with someone who has any of these illnesses, see your doctor or the person who is treating you right away.

When people take steroids, these disorders can be severe, and they may require more treatment before they start to feel better.

Long-term usage of steroids might weaken your muscles, and it’s possible that they’ll interfere with your menstrual cycle in women.

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Other issues to consider

Although steroid creams and eye drops seldom produce major adverse effects, if you use them for an extended period of time or at a high dose, the medication may be absorbed into your bloodstream, increasing the chance of side effects that are generally only seen with steroid pills.

Considering that steroids can affect diabetes, high blood pressure, or epilepsy, you’ll need to get your blood pressure and blood sugar levels monitored on a regular basis. If necessary, the person treating you may adjust the dose of your drugs. Steroids can sometimes lead to diabetes or high blood sugar in persons who have never had it before.

Steroids can have an effect on the eyes, such as worsening glaucoma or producing cataracts. They can also cause serious chorioretinopathy, which is a condition in which fluid collects in a region of the eye. If you detect any changes in your vision, such as hazy vision, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Steroids can sometimes lead to a disorder known as Cushing’s syndrome. This can result in skin thinning, stretch marks, and a rounder face, although it normally goes away after the steroids are discontinued.

Steroids can cause growth to stall in children and teenagers, so they should have their height measured on a frequent basis. They may be referred to a specialist doctor for advice if their growth is impeded.

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Taking care of side effects

Although steroids might promote weight gain or an increase in hunger, it’s crucial to keep track of your weight while on them. Making healthy eating choices and doing some exercise in your regular routine should keep you from gaining weight.

Steroids have the potential to weaken bones, resulting in osteoporosis. You’re more likely to fracture your bones if you have this condition, which can happen even after mild falls or knocks.

To avoid this, your doctor may prescribe bisphosphonates, or calcium and vitamin D supplements, in addition to the steroids.

Regular exercise, particularly activities that need your bones to support your body’s weight, such as walking, can help to minimize your chance of developing osteoporosis.

In addition, make sure you obtain adequate calcium in your diet and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

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