Steroids & Adrenal Side Effects
A new study conducted in Europe showed that a significant number of people who stopped steroid use (prescribed for asthma and allergies) showed signs of malfunctioning in their adrenal glands.
These glands are found on top of your kidneys and are made up of two parts. They are in charge of producing hormones that help with deal with stress and regulate blood pressure. Adrenal insufficiency is a condition that can become serious. It can happen when the body has to deal with long sustained stressors, injuries, serious illness, and even surgeries.
Common symptoms of adrenal insufficiency are fatigue, weight loss, dizziness, and salt cravings.
Corticosteroids are used to help fight inflammation in a wide range of conditions and mimic the hormone cortisol, which is made by the adrenals. While on corticosteroids the body makes less of its natural hormones, so once you start to come off the drugs your body takes a while to get its natural hormone production up to normal levels. During this in-between period you may undergo adrenal insufficiency.
The researchers looked at 74 published articles looking at different dosage and types of corticosteroid use, as well as patients’ likelihood of acquiring adrenal sufficiency after treatment.
Risk of adrenal insufficiency was found to be highest in those who took corticosteroids orally or by injection. Risks were lower in those who inhaled, used nasal treatment, or topical treatment.
When looking at asthma patients: those who used in inhalers were at a 7% risk of developing adrenal insufficiency compared to 44% risk in those who used oral medications.
Those who took higher doses of steroids were also found to be at increased risk for adrenal insufficiency compared to those taking low doses.
What you can do:
- Those on high or long term doses of steroids should be given bracelets that will identify them as being at risk.
- Be sure you talk to your doctor about the risks, symptoms, and possible side effects before undergoing any medical procedure or taking any prescription.
- Live a healthy lifestyle, and reduce stressors as much as possible.
- Try to reduce symptoms of asthma and allergies naturally through diet, exercise, acupuncture, and chiropractic.
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Remember that this information is for educational purposes only. Seek the advice of a health specialist before making any changes to your healthcare.