While there is hue and cry about adverse steroids effects, there are several benefits of using steroids, majority of them therapeutic to treat the otherwise untreatable medical conditions.
Corticosteroids are used as meds and these include cortisone, hydrocortisone and prednisone. All three offer amazing potential in therapy of variety of medical conditions, from asthma to skin rash to auto immune skin disorders like lupus.
How do the corticosteroids work?
They mimic hormones and bring out effects of adrenal gland hormones. When taken in prescribed doses the corticosteroids suppress inflammation, which eventually reduce signs and symptoms of inflammation. Some inflammatory conditions include arthritis and asthma. The steroids suppress body’s immune system, and help get control on conditions wherein body immune system attacks its tissues.
How are they used?
There are many corticosteroid meds available today which form as front line of treatment for conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, allergies, etc. There are some life-threatening diseases like Addison’s disease, and the steroid administering in people with Addison’s disease helps prevent rejection of organ/s when an organ transplant is called for.
Corticosteroids are administered as syrups, tablets or capsules per oral which help address inflammation and pain that are associated with lupus and arthritis.
The steroids are also administered as nasal sprays by inhalers and they address inflammation that is commonly associated with nasal allergies and asthma and nasal allergies.
They are also administered as topical creams. In the form of lotions, creams, gels, and ointments the steroids help in addressing skin conditions.
There are some steroids that are administered IM via injections. They are used to address signs and symptoms including pain and inflammation of muscles and tendons.
All is good, but then why worry?
Corticosteroids do carry risk for many; minor and major adverse side effects. However we can reduce the risk of side effects and to get the most positive effects with the least negative effects. How?
By lowering corticosteroid doses or following intermittent doses. Newer corticosteroids have been hitting the market and you can check with your doctor about taking low-dose med for short-term medications or taking them thrice a week instead of once a day.
Taking those forms of corticosteroids that prevent exposure of entire body; for instance taking inhaler form of corticosteroids for asthma and preventing exposure of rest of body to the steroids.
Make lifestyle changes when on corticosteroid therapy such as not taking the meds for prolonged periods, reducing intake of calories, increasing physical activity to prevent weight gain and taking supplements of calcium and vitamin D which can reduce if not prevent minimize bone thinning.
All said, weigh the side effects and the benefits of the corticosteroids and work with your physician to make those choices that reduce or minimize the side effects, you could well achieve significant health benefits.
Well, now that you are aware of the therapeutic steroids effects, remember that with the recommended dosage, you can achieve maximum health benefits and meet your treatment goals.