By: Mariah Rossi and Dr. Emran of Simple Health Radio

On this episode of Simple Health Radio, Dr. Emran talks about steroids. There is a lot of misconception surrounding steroids and their utility. However, steroids are safe when used for the treatment of certain types of conditions and can be used to improve the quality of life.

There are several hormones that are actually steroids such as Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone. Both males and females produce these steroids throughout their lives

The negative stigma surrounding steroids is linked to Anabolic Steroids. These are synthetic versions of Testosterone. People use them to build muscle, but they are illegal and frequently misused. Further, they have many negative side effects including paranoia, aggression, delusions, impaired judgment, mania, kidney problems, kidney failure, liver damage, elevated blood pressure, heart problems, and cholesterol problems. These types of steroids are not advisable and are not prescribed by doctors.

Corticosteroids are prescribed by doctors. They are a large class of steroids that are beneficial and used for many diseases and problems. Cortisol is a naturally occurring corticosteroid that is made in the adrenal gland above the Kidney. This maintains general health and metabolism. When people are sick, their bodies produce more Cortisol to keep the body balanced.

Steroids come in different doses which can include a burst or taper. A burst is a high dose taken for a few days and then stopped. A taper is a high dose for a few days, then a medium dose, and then small dose until the patient is back to their normal level. There are several different formulations of steroids, including inhaled, pills, liquids, injections, creams, ointments, and even eye drops.

Some people have adrenal suppression when they take steroids, which means that the adrenal gland temporarily stops producing steroids. If that person keeps using steroids, their body may stop producing steroids all together and they become steroid-dependent. These are situations where safe corticosteroids, which happen prescribed by a physician can cause side effects.

Even prescribed steroids have side effects including rising blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and steroid rage. Because of these side effects, doctors try to get patients off steroids as soon as possible. People may have autoimmune disorders where they have to be on steroids constantly.

Whatever a patient is prescribed steroids, the doctor will follow-up with them in a few days to be sure they are improving and not developing any side effects. The patient should finish the medication that was prescribed and always update the clinic and the pharmacist to avoid any side effects.


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