Corticosteroids are effective in treating many skin diseases, asthma and osteoarthritis. However, the use of drugs without a doctor’s prescription can cause many harmful side effects to health, even causing the phenomenon of “corticoid addiction”. Therefore, many people think that corticosteroids are a “double-edged sword”.

Viewing: What are corticosteroids?

Corticosteroids (corticosteroids) are steroid hormones produced by the body or made by humans. These include drugs such as prednisone and cortisone.

Systemic corticosteroids refer to corticosteroids that are administered orally or by injection and are distributed evenly throughout the body. It does not include corticosteroids used in the eyes, ears, nose, on the skin, or inhaled. Although small amounts of this corticosteroid can be absorbed into the body.

The natural corticosteroids are hydrocortisone (Cortef) and cortisone which is produced by the outer part of the adrenal gland (cortical, hence the name corticosteroid). Corticosteroids are classified into:

Corticosteroids work to regulate the balance of salt and water in the body (salt retention effect). Synthetic corticosteroids have similar activity to natural corticosteroids and can be used to replace corticosteroids in people whose adrenal glands are not functioning to produce enough corticosteroids. However, they are often used medicinally as an alternative treatment for immune, inflammatory diseases or salt and water balance.

Glucocorticoids have the effect of inhibiting inflammation and allergic diseases on the skin

2. Side effects of corticosteroids

Corticosteroids have many side effects ranging from mild to severe even serious. These side effects become apparent when corticosteroids are used in high doses or for a long time. Some of the most common side effects are:

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Retention of sodium (salt) and substances in the body causing weight gain or swelling of the legs (edema) Loss of potassium Muscle weakness Puffiness Facial hair growth Slow wound healing Cataracts Loss of diabetes control Buffalo hump

Prolonged use of corticosteroids can cause obesity, stunted growth in children, and can even lead to seizures and mental confusion. These mental disorders include depression, euphoria, insomnia, mood swings and personality changes, or altered psychotic behaviors.

Long-term use of corticosteroids can lead to mental disorders

In addition, corticosteroids also increase the rate of infection and reduce the effectiveness of vaccines or antibiotics. Because, it affects and suppresses the immune system.

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Shrinking (atrophy) of the adrenal glands can also be caused by long-term corticosteroid use. At this time, it makes the body unable to produce cortisol, the body’s natural corticosteroid. In addition, it also causes necrosis of the adrenal gland in the hip joint, causing pain and more serious surgical intervention. Therefore, any sign of hip or knee pain in people taking corticosteroids requires prompt medical monitoring.

Using corticosteroids for a long time should not be stopped suddenly. This will lead to risks for the adrenal glands. Because, at this time, the body cannot secrete enough cortisol to make up for the deficiency. Signs of potential adrenal involvement are usually nausea, vomiting, and shock.

Vinmec International General Hospital is not only an address for medical examination and treatment, but also famous for its medical services, comprehensive health care consultation under the implementation of a team of rich doctors and nurses. expertise and experience.

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