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Steroids

How Steroids Work and What They are Most commonly Used For

Steroids 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 Work

Steroids 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 Usages

Steroids are often used for blood and skin disorders as well as the following conditions.

Arthritis

Joints 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
Common Treatments Treatments may include physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, diet/lifestyle changes, and medications like painkillers, biologic medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, steroids, and anti-rheumatic drugs.

Asthma and Other Breathing Problems

Many 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
  • wheezing
  • coughing
  • shallow breathing
  • trouble breathing
Asthma is a condition that causes the airways to narrow, swell, and become inflamed, making it hard for the person to breathe. It can also cause wheezing, coughing, and chest pain. Thus, it can have minor effects on your daily life, but sometimes, you can have an asthma attack that may be life-threatening. Common Treatments Treatments may include using a rescue inhaler to treat recurring symptoms, using a controlled inhaler to prevent symptoms, or using a long-lasting inhaler to keep airways open (these treatments can also be taken through a Bronchodilator). Anti-inflammatories may be administered to reduce inflammation, or oral steroids help stimulate or change hormone effects, reduce inflammation, and repair or grow tissue.

Severe Allergies

Each year in the U.S., over 50 million people have an allergic reaction, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), but treatment depends on the severity and cause of the reaction. An allergic reaction happens when cells in your immune system interpret an allergen or foreign substance as harmful. Your immune system will overreact and produce histamine, a chemical that causes inflammation, coughing, sneezing, and other allergy symptoms. However, Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical care. Common Treatments Most minor symptoms can be treated with corticosteroids, antihistamines, or decongestants. For congestion related to allergies, saline nasal solutions can be used. Apply corticosteroid creams to allergy-related skin rashes, and for chronic more severe cases, immunotherapy may be used.  



Maple Leaf Medications has provided information from third parties intended to increase awareness and does not contain all the information about this medical condition. Talk to your doctor or a qualified medical practitioner for advice or medical attention.