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How Steroids Work and What They are Most commonly Used ForSteroids or corticosteroids are synthetic drugs like cortisol, a hormone your body produces naturally. It’s mainly used to treat inflammatory conditions, such as inflammation of muscles (myositis) and inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis). However, they are also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, lupus, and gout. Corticosteroids should not be confused with muscle-building anabolic steroids. Some examples of corticosteroids include cortisone, triamcinolone, methylprednisolone, and prednisone.
How Steroids WorkSteroids work by reducing inflammation and decreasing the activity of the immune system. Inflammation results from white blood cells and other body chemicals protecting your body against infection, viruses, bacteria, and other foreign organisms. However, your immune system may not function properly with certain diseases and can become overactive. This can cause inflammation to fight against the tissue in your body resulting in tissue damage. Inflammation is characterized by swelling, redness, warmth, and pain. Steroids help reduce inflammatory producing chemicals to minimize tissue damage and affect white blood cell functions to reduce immune system activity.
Common Steroid UsagesSteroids are often used for blood and skin disorders as well as the following conditions.
ArthritisJoints separate the bones in our bodies. Unlike bones that remain straight, joints can move freely and enable us to bend our knees, elbows, fingers, etc. Arthritis results from inflamed joints. Depending on the extent of inflammation, arthritis can be…
- Mild: A person will feel slight discomfort in the joints
- Moderate: A person will experience some pain and stiffness in the joints
- Severe: A person’s joints may stiffen completely, causing immobility and excruciating pain
Asthma and Other Breathing ProblemsMany breathing problems are chronic or long-term and include asthma, allergies, and sinusitis. Symptoms of breathing problems may include:
- a runny nose
- nasal congestion
- chest congestion
- itchy, watery eyes
- shallow breathing
- trouble breathing