Cortisol plays an important part in controlling salt and water balance in the body, as well as regulating carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. When the body becomes stressed, the pituitary gland at the base of the brain releases a hormone which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. The extra cortisol allows the body to cope with stressful situations such as infection, trauma, surgery, or emotional problems.
Information On How Steroids Affect The Body
Steroids work by decreasing inflammation and reducing the activity of the immune system. Inflammation is a process in which the body's white blood cells and chemicals can protect against infection and foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses. In certain diseases, however, the body's defence system (immune system) doesn't function properly. This might cause inflammation to work against the body's tissues and cause damage. Signs of inflammation include redness, warmth, swelling and pain.
Corticosteroids are man-made drugs that closely resemble cortisol, which is a hormone that your adrenal glands produce naturally. Corticosteroids are different from the male hormone-related steroid compounds that some athletes abuse.
Injected steroids can cause side effects near the site of the injection. Side effects may include pain, infection, shrinking of soft tissue and loss of colour in the skin. Doctors usually limit steroid injections to no more than three or four a year, depending on your specific situation.
Although they may cause a range of side effects, corticosteroids may also relieve the inflammation, pain and discomfort of many different diseases and conditions. If you work with your doctor to make choices, you may achieve significant benefits without the use of steroids which will eliminate the risk of such problems.
High dosage cortisone is the second most common cause of osteoporosis. Steroids inhibit the intestine's ability to absorb calcium and vitamin D. The body is forced to eliminate these necessary bone-building elements through urine, resulting in inevitable bone loss.
Although steroids can be very effective as a one-time shot at reducing inflammation resulting from sudden trauma to the tissue, they should not be considered until other avenues of treatment have been exhausted. Repeated use destroys the connective tissue in the body. To reduce inflammation, discover the true origin of the injury and correct that.
Information On Cortisone Shots
Cortisone shots can offer fast-acting relief of inflamed muscles, joints, tendons and bursa. They are a very powerful anti-inflammatory medication when administered by an expert. While this may sound enticing if you are struggling with pain, there is a large list of side effects to consider.
Shrinkage! The skin around the injection site may become discolored and cause the skin to shrink - this is called atrophy. When this happens the introduction of bacterial infection directly into the body from that injection site can cause infections in surrounding areas like joints that are close to that injection site.
Elevated blood sugar! Patients with diabetes should not use cortisone shots, as the injection quite often causes an elevation in blood sugar that is extremely hard to regulate.
Soreness! While a true allergy to cortisone is rare, increased pain is typically due to a post-injection flare. This pain can last up to 6 weeks. Facial flushing, and increased sweating may also occur, as your body works to fight against the injection.
Rupture! If you no longer feel the pain, you will contineu your daily routine as normal. This is dangerous, as you won't know what damage you've done until the injection wears off. You could potentially rupture your tendon / ligament / muscle, becuase you're no longer receiving those pain signals.
Immume Supression! In patients with underlying infections, cortisone injections can supress the body's ability to fight the infection and possibly worsen the infection. It may even mask the infection by also supressing the signs and symptoms of inflammation.
Information On How Steroids Affect The Mind
Anabolic steroid abuse has been associated with a wide range of adverse side effects ranging from some that are physically unattractive, such as acne and breast development in men, to others that are life threatening, such as heart attacks and liver cancer.
You may have heard that some athletes use anabolic steroids to gain size and strength. Maybe you've even seen an anabolic steroid user develop bigger muscles over time. But while anabolic steroids can make some people look stronger on the outside, they may create weaknesses on the inside.
For example, anabolic steroids can weaken the immune system -- the body's defense against germs and diseases. They can also lead to liver damage or cancer, even in young people. They can also permanently stop bones from growing in teenagers. This means that a teenage steroid user may not grow to be his or her full adult height and will be shorter for life.
Parts of the brain that influence your moods and are involved in learning and memory are called the limbic system. Anabolic steroids act in the limbic system. In animals, they have been shown to impair learning and memory. They can also lead to changes in mood, such as feelings of depression or irritability. Anabolic steroid users may act mean to people they're normally nice to, like friends and family. Anabolic steroids in the brain may trigger really aggressive behavior. Some outbursts can be so severe they have become known as "roid rages."
Are Corticosteroids Beneficial
A lot of doctors are prescribing corticosteroids for the wrong reasons. They are using it as a bandaid, for when people come in with pain and want a quick fix. An article on the PubMed Archives states that you are six times more likely to have a ruptured tendon when actively using steroids than without. The cause for this is because the corticosteroids relieve you of pain so you go back to activities you normally would as if you weren't injured, all-the-while injuring yourself further because you can't feel the pain. It's not a matter of corticosteroids not working, because they do. It's a problem when something that could heal without surgery and the right treatment plan causes one to need surgery due to bad choices by their physician.
When inflammation threatens to damage critical body organs, steroids can be organ-saving and in many instances, life-saving. For example, steroids may prevent the worsening of kidney inflammation, which could lead to kidney failure in people who have lupus or vasculitis. Low doses of steroids might provide significant relief from pain and stiffness for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Short-term use of higher doses of steroids might help a person recover from a severe flare-up of arthritis.
Forum Content from the Health Care Company King Brand®
Decrease in inflammation by reducing the production of inflammatory chemicals that cause tissue damage. This is good, because inflammation causes pain.
Relief from itching
A decrease in the immune system's ability to create white blood cells, resulting in a reduced immune system function
Wakefulness, agitation, nervousness, restlessness
Increased appetite and weight gain
Susceptibility to bruising
Water retention and swelling
Red streaking or spotting of the skin
Higher blood pressure
Development of blurred vision, cataracts or glaucoma
Worsening of or development of diabetes
Muscle weakness, myopathy (disease of muscles)
Topical steroids are the topical forms of corticosteroids. Topical steroids are the most commonly prescribed medications for the treatment of rash, eczema, and dermatitis. Topical steroids have anti-inflammatory properties, and are classified based on their vasoconstriction abilities. There are numerous topical steroid products.
Naturally, the body will build up a tolerance to any medication, which is why topical steroids are usually prescribed as one week on and one week off so they remain effective for the duration of the prescription. Long term use of topical steroids can lead to a secondary infection with fungus or bacteria, or skin bruising and fragility.
Topical steroid addiction (TSA) has been reported in long-term users of topical steroids. TSA is an uncontrollable spreading dermatitis and worsening skin inflammation which requires a stronger topical steroid to get the same results as the first prescription. When topical steroid injection is stopped, the skin becomes red, burns, itches, hot to the touch, swelling, and oozes for a length of time. After the withdrawl period is over the dermatitis stops or becomes significantly less severe.
When using topical steroids for your skin, it is very important that your hands are washed thoroughly after applying the cream or ointment. If the topical steroid comes in contact with your eye, nose, mouth or on your lips it is important to rinse with cool water.
Doctors usually prescribe inhaled corticosteroids over oral (tablet or liquid) corticosteroids, because the inhaled medication is more targeted. In other words, when it's inhaled, medication goes directly into the lungs where it's needed. Unlike oral medicines, inhaled steroids do not have to pass through other parts of the body where they're not needed, and as a result are less likely to cause unwanted side effects.
Corticosteroids that are inhaled to treat respiratory issues such as asthma are considered safe. This is because the medicine, which is inhaled through a 'puffer', goes directly into the lungs where it reduces inflammation in the airways. A steroid tablet that is swallowed has more side effects because a large amount goes into the blood stream and is carried to other parts of the body where it is not needed. Side effects from inhaled steroids are minor when the proper amount is taken.
Over prolonged periods of time, corticosteroids can cause unintended side effects. Most often if steroids are being used over a long period of time, the doctor will recommend an intermittent schedule, where you are on for a week and off for a week. This will help lessen the effects of the steroids. The following are guidelines on how to prevent any side effects for long term use.
It's best not to use corticosteroids based on all of the evidence gathered, but if it's necessary, these steps should help alleviate any negative side effects from prolonged use that you might have.
Try lower doses or intermittent dosing. Newer forms of corticosteroids come in varying strengths and lengths of treatment. Ask your doctor about using low-dose, short term medications or taking oral corticosteroids every other day instead of daily usage.
Switch to non-oral forms of corticosteroids. Inhaled corticosteroids for asthma, for example, reach lung surfaces directly, reducing the rest of your body's exposure to them leading to fewer side effects.
Make healthy choices during therapy. When you're on corticosteroid medications for a prolonged period, talk to your doctor about ways to minimize side effects. You may need to reduce the number of calories or increase physical activities to prevent weight gain. Exercise can help reduce muscle weakness and osteoporosis risks. Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements and prescription bone-building drugs can minimize bone thinning directly related to the corticosteroids.
Take care when discontinuing therapy. If you take oral corticosteroids for prolonged periods, your adrenal glands may produce less of their natural steroid hormones. To give your adrenal glands time to recover, your doctor will reduce your dose gradually.
Damages Caused by Cortisone
Depending on the type of cortisone used, there are different damages that are caused. This is also why there is a limit to how much cortisone people can use in a specified time period.
There's some concern that repeated use of cortisone shots may cause deterioration of the cartilage within a joint. For this reason, doctors will typically limit the number of cortisone shots into a joint. In general, for cortisone injections, they should not be give more often than every six weeks and usually will only be prescribed three to four times a year as a maximum.
Cortisone injections carry a risk of complications such as:
Death of nearby bone - Osteonecrosis
Thinning of skin and soft tissue around the injection site
Temporary flare of pain and inflammation in the joint
Tendon weakening or rupture
Thinning of nearby bone - Osteoporosis
Whitening or lightening of the skin around the injection site
A bone spur is a growth of bone that occurs along the the edges of a bone. Bone spurs can form in any bone, but are most commonly found in joints, where two or more bones come together. They also occur where muscles, ligaments, or tendons attach to a bone. Bone spurs may be caused by tendonitis or arthritis and therefore have a direct correlation with cortisone injections.
For someone with arthritis or osteoporosis, bone spurs are more prominent as these two conditions cause the bone to weaken. Any stress on the bone may cause a bone spur to occur. The use of cortisone injections will amplify this occurance due to cortisone injections weakening the tendon.
What Is An Anabolic Steroid
An anabolic steroid is the familiar name for synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones (testosterone). They promote the growth of skeletal muscle and the development of sexual characteristics (androgenic effects) in both males and females.
Anabolic steroids were first synthesized in the late 1930s to treat hypogonadism which is a condition where the body doesn't produce an adequate amount of testosterone naturally for normal growth, development and sexual functioning. It was at the time of synthesizing that scientists also discovered that anabolic steroids could aid the growth of skeletal muscle in laboratory animals, which led to abuse of the compounds first by body builders and weightlifters and then by athletes in other sports.
Steroid abuse has become so widespread in athletics that it can affect the outcome of sports contests. Illicit steroids are often sold at gyms, competitions, and through mail order operations after being smuggled into this country. Most illegal steroids in the United States are smuggled from countries that do not require a prescription.
One of the main reasons people give for abusing steroids is to improve their athletic performance. Another reason is to increase their muscle size or to reduce their body fat.
Health Consequences from Steroid Abuse
Anabolic steroid abuse has been associated with a wide range of adverse side effects ranging from some that are physically unattractive, such as acne and breast development in men, to others that are life threatening, such as heart attacks and liver cancer. Most are reversible if the abuser stops taking the drugs, but some are permanent, such as voice deepening in females.
Anabolic Steroids Addictive?
It is currently unknown whether or not people become addicted to steroids, although steroid abusers typically spend large amounts of time and money obtaining the drugs, which is an indication that they may be addicted. Individuals who abuse steroids can experience withdrawl symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, and steroid cravings. The most dangerous side effect is depression. These side effects will normalize when the body starts producing the steroid naturally again.