InViteⓇ Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey, Ph.
Today, I’d like to talk to you about corticosteroid drugs, which are commonly called steroids. We’re not talking about sex steroids here, we’re talking about the ones used for inflammation. They’re very powerful anti-inflammatory drugs. Some examples of steroid drugs that you could be prescribed are hydrocortisone, prednisone and methylprednisolone. They’re typically used to treat inflammatory-related diseases such as rheumatological diseases, asthma, severe allergic reactions, severe muscle pain and more. A major issue with these drugs when they’re used for an extended time period is that they have a bundle of side effects. Today, I’m going to talk about the more common ones. Many important nutrients are depleted by these steroid drugs, but this is not really talked about by doctors and pharmaceutical companies. This can have serious health consequences.†
How do corticosteroids work?
Corticosteroids are made in labs. They closely resemble our own hormone, cortisol. That’s a hormone that’s made by the adrenal glands. In the body, we release our own steroid hormones for a variety of activities. We release cortisol and epinephrine to wake up in the morning. They squeeze your blood vessels and make your heart race a little bit and beat faster, which allows blood to reach your brain and muscles and increase your blood sugar. This is good, but you can imagine long-term, if you’re releasing these hormones inappropriately, how bad it would be for your system.†
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The same thing can happen with steroid drugs. They work by decreasing inflammation and reducing the activity of your immune system. It’s calming down the white blood cells. The problem is that sometimes the body’s own immune system is attacking and damaging its own tissues. You get this in arthritis with joint damage and severe pain, with asthma in your lungs and more. Over time, severe inflammation can destroy tissues. The steroids reduce the chemicals that cause this inflammation. This helps keep the tissue damage to a minimum.†
The negative impacts that accompany steroid drugs
If it’s a low dose of a steroid, generally there aren’t problems. For instance, if you’re using prednisone at 5mg, it doesn’t usually cause a problem. But if you’re using higher doses, the longer you use it, the more likely it is that you will have problems.†
Here are some common side effects of steroid drugs:†
These drugs can also impact nutrient levels in the body. They can cause your sodium to build up and lose potassium in your urine. These two changes can cause swelling and can also impact the heart and blood pressure levels.†
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In this episode, Jerry Hickey, Ph. begins a conversation about corticosteroids. He explains how steroid drugs work in the body and also details many of the side effects that commonly come with them. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this episode, coming soon!†
- What are rheumatological diseases?
- Examples of steroid drugs
- Why are steroids prescribed?
- Dealing with fungal infections
- Common side effects of steroid drugs
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