Side effects of steroids: Do you need to worry?
Steroids are common drugs for the treatment of many diseases.
Steroids can also be used to shape and grow muscles, but this is not a good thing.
According to the BBC survey, since steroids can be administered intravenously, this behavior has increased by more than 600% in the last decade.People with intravenous steroids are beginning to be exposed to diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, and the risk of infection in these populations is also increasing.
Because of its remarkable efficacy, steroids usually have a good therapeutic effect in a short period of time, so they have become “American Ivy”. However, many patients still have doubts about the use of steroids, such as: “The use of steroids must have side effects”, “Do not use steroids is better”, but is this really the case?
What is steroid?
Steroids are synthetic hormones that have the same function as hormones secreted by the human adrenal cortex, so they are also called “adrenal cortical hormones.” Adrenal cortical hormone is a steroid that the body itself has. It secretes about 7.5 mg per day to maintain physiological function. It is an indispensable part of life.
Adrenal cortical hormones are mainly divided into two categories: glycosylated cortical hormones, mineral corticosteroids, and steroids, which are commonly referred to as glucosamine corticosteroids, generally include drugs that slow down immune inflammatory response, maintain blood pressure and heart function, and regulate sugars. , protein, fat metabolism, etc.
What are the side effects or effects of steroids?
When a drug is used to treat a disease, some effects are predictable and not what the treatment process wants to achieve, which is called “side effects.”
Possible side effects of steroids include: getting fat, acne, osteoporosis, thinning of the skin, easy infection, etc. These side effects are usually related to “dose” and “length of use”. The higher the dose, the longer the use, the longer the occurrence The chance of side effects will also be higher.
Getting fat and affecting fat distribution
When you start taking steroids, many people may become fatger when they increase their appetite, are prone to hunger, increase their food intake, and exercise less. In addition, if you take a higher dose, such as eating four steroids a day, it may cause fat redistribution, making the cheeks round, obesity, buffalo shoulders and other phenomena.
If you have these side effects, don’t worry too much. These phenomena usually return to normal as the amount of steroids is reduced and your diet is controlled.
Water and salt accumulation
Initially, if the amount of steroids exceeds four a day, it may cause accumulation of water and salt in the body and cause edema. This is not caused by steroid-damaged kidneys, but by sodium retention. As long as you avoid eating too salty, pickled, and processed foods during your use, you can reduce the incidence of edema.
Influence blood sugar
The cause of hyperglycemia caused by steroids is that when steroids act on the pancreas, excessive protein breakdown is caused, and the amino acid released by protein breakdown is converted to glucose through the liver. On the other hand, it also inhibits insulin secretion, increases insulin resistance, and causes hyperglycemia under multiple causes, but this side effect usually occurs in the long-term, excessive use of steroids.
Increase the risk of osteoporosis
Not taking steroids can cause osteoporosis, which is more likely to occur in high-dose, long-term patients, such as taking more than four steroids a day for more than 3-6 months. The reason is that the role of steroids may reduce the absorption of calcium in the small intestine and inhibit the proliferation of osteoblasts.
In daily life, you can increase the intake of calcium, and take more calcium-rich foods such as milk, dairy products, dried fish, spinach, sesame, and soybeans. You can also use calcium tablets, plus appropriate exercise and alcohol. It can reduce bone loss.
Increase the risk of infection
Because of the immunosuppressive effects of steroids, the risk of infection may increase over time, and patients taking more than four steroids a day may be more susceptible to infection or oral mold infection.
Should I worry about the side effects of the drug?
First, although all drugs have “possible” side effects, they do not necessarily occur. Usually, high doses and long-term use are associated with serious side effects. In general, most of the side effects are mild and transient reactions. Usually after a period of medication, the body will naturally adapt and gradually disappear, and the metabolism of steroids can be excreted through the kidneys without accumulating in the body.
For the treatment of atopic dermatitis, steroids are the first-line treatments approved by the British and American Dermatology Medical Association, the Asian Atopic Dermatitis Conference, and the Taiwan Dermatology Medical Association, and are also effective methods for initial treatment.
If side effects persist and interfere with daily life, the physician can be informed if the physician decides whether to reduce the dose or switch to another alternative. Steroids are very effective and safe as long as they follow the instructions of physicians and pharmacists. Don’t dare to use them because of fear, but worsen or delay the condition.
What diseases are steroids commonly used for?
Because steroids have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects, they can be used therapeutically to alleviate the symptoms of many diseases such as lupus erythematosus, allergic diseases, intractable eczema, atopic dermatitis, dermatomyositis, polymyositis. , inflammatory arthritis, renal glomerulonephritis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc.
Pharmacological effects of steroids
Steroids have many pharmacological effects and their mechanism of action is quite complex. Simply put, the inflammatory response of steroids to the body activates neutrophils to stabilize, induces the production of anti-inflammatory proteins, and ultimately produces an anti-inflammatory effect on inflamed tissues.
What are the dosage forms of steroids?
The steroids on the market are mainly divided into four different dosage forms, such as oral, topical, inhaled, and injectable dosage forms, and the applicable diseases and sites are slightly different, and need to be judged by the physician according to the condition.
For example, inhaled steroids are the first line of medication for asthmatic patients, acting on the airways and nasal passages, effectively reducing inflammation and reducing the chance of asthma attacks. Inhaled steroids do not exceed 0.5 to 1 oral steroid per day, twice a day, twice a day, so long-term, normal use does not cause side effects.
What is steroid pulse therapy?
It refers to intravenous injection of high doses of steroids in a short period of time. The doctor will choose pulse therapy, which is usually used for the severity of the disease. The purpose is to slow down the inflammatory reaction as soon as possible, so that the condition can be better controlled.
Will the side effects of intravenous injection be more serious? The occurrence of side effects is usually related to the length of use and the amount of use, and is not necessarily more serious than oral steroids. However, there may still be redness and fever in the skin during treatment, and some patients may suffer from insomnia due to mental excitement.
What should I pay attention to when taking steroids?
Eat medicine on time
It is recommended to take it in the morning, because the concentration of steroids naturally secreted by the human body is higher, which is in line with the normal physiological condition of the human body, and can also reduce the probability of insomnia.
Stop taking the medicine under the guidance of a doctor
For patients with long-term use of steroids, stopping the drug by themselves may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headache, fever, lethargy, and muscle or joint pain.
Do not adjust the dosage of the drug by yourself
Self-increase or decrease the dose may affect the therapeutic effect of the disease, or increase the risk of side effects. Even if the symptoms are properly controlled, the doctor and the pharmacist must be instructed to adjust the dose.
Pay attention to blood sugar changes
Because taking high doses of steroids may cause hyperglycemia, especially in patients with diabetes, blood glucose patients must be regularly measured. If there is any abnormality, consult a physician immediately.
Avoid excessive salt intake
Excessive intake of salt can easily cause edema.
Add enough calcium
Ingesting enough calcium can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Attention to cleaning and hygiene
Taking steroids may increase the risk of infection. Patients should be well cleaned, orally sanitized, and maintain good personal hygiene to reduce the chance of infection.