Patient Awareness

Steroids As Medications: Things To Keep In Mind

Steroids as medications
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The word ‘steroid’ brings a negative feeling, for it is mostly associated with medicines with adverse side effects. Steroids can actually be used for medical purposes under proper supervision. Steroids as medications are synthetic medicines that resemble a natural body producing hormone (called cortisol) used for the treatment of many inflammatory diseases and health conditions. On the other hand, anabolic steroids (resembling testosterone) are used by athletes for various physical enhancing purposes like building body muscle and increasing body strength.



There are three ways steroids can be taken or given: orally, topically (with an ointment or cream) or through injections. Steroids as medications that work by managing the activity of the immune system and by assisting to decrease inflammation. Inflammation is the natural process of our white blood cells and the chemicals of our body to protect us from foreign organisms. Sometimes the immune system is overactive and needs to be managed. Decreasing the activity of the immune system can work against inflammation. Steroids reduce the inflammation action so that the actual tissues are not damaged beyond repair and also affect the immune system functioning.

The benefits of supervised Steroids as medication intake are that they are used to provide relief in some conditions when an individual’s defense system fails or malfunctions and to manage the damage caused to tissues in such a case. In fact, steroids are known to even save organs at critical times when inflammation can threaten crucial body organs. For example, people with Lupus have chances of having kidney failure when there is kidney inflammation. In case of emergencies, doctors inject steroids into the problem area to immediately manage the effect of inflammation. In fact, experts suggest that medical steroid injections can provide relief much better to the problematic area and reduce the chances of side effects caused due to continuous use of oral or topical steroids.

The problem arises when steroids are used without proper consultation with a doctor or physician. Sports professionals or bodybuilders are very well known for steroid abuse. The side effects of steroids can be usually seen through the change in an individual’s physical appearance or through their behavior. Abusing steroids can lead to the weakening of muscles & body functions, heart attack or stroke, kidney failure, liver tumours, anger & aggression, bleeding problems, etc. Constant use or overdose of these medicines can also lead to ‘steroid dependency’ wherein an individual believes that they require steroids to function properly. This causes serious side effects and also an increase in hormonal activity in the body. It is said that over the long run, excessive steroid use can interfere with the functioning of the neurotransmitters and create changes in the brain too.

As it is with any medication, an overdose of steroids will always lead to adverse effects on the body in the long run. It is always advisable that an individual first consults a doctor or a professional physician before taking up steroids or even leaving them. Suddenly stopping medically advised steroids can also lead to side effects and unknown withdrawal symptoms. Always consult a doctor before using Steroids as medications and only use prescribed medicines by licensed doctors.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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