Steroids and Adrenal Insufficiency

Steroids and Adrenal Insufficiency
Steroids are typically used for treating medical conditions that involve inflammatory responses. Examples of these are inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, eczema, arthritis, allergic responses, and others. In addition to treating inflammatory diseases, other uses for steroids include supplementing hormones. Taking steroids, like prednisone, can either help your body feel better or it can cause problems. Or both. What is cortisol? Within the body is the endocrine system, which is made up of glands. These glands secrete hormones into the bloodstream for the body to function correctly. There are two important glands, known as the adrenal glands, that release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is the body’s natural form of steroid that regulates metabolism by: Turning glucose into energy. Helping the immune response to fight off infections. Helping the body respond to stress. Cortisol is known for its involvement with the fight-or-flight response in a stressful situation. Taking steroids, such as prednisone, can affect how the adrenal glands produce cortisol. Prednisone can cause cortisol levels to rise or be part of the reason it is not being produced. High cortisol levels When people are taking corticosteroids, like prednisone, side effects can occur, such as increased appetite, weight gain, moonface, and insomnia. There is a danger for more severe side effects when steroids are taken for a prolonged period, including diabetes, cataracts, and bone loss. When someone must take high doses of steroids for a prolonged period, there is also a risk of developing a condition called Cushing's syndrome. It can be dangerous if the cortisol levels in your system are high. The symptoms of Cushing's syndrome are much like those associated with prol
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  1. Debbie says:

    Great article! My daughter has primary Adrenal Insufficiency. But I advocate and fight for more education in the medical Community for both SAI AND PAI. The medical Community still does not acknowledge that steroids can cause SAI. You explained it well. I am sorry you have it, but I am also glad you are ok.

    • Lisa Burks says:

      Hi Debbie!
      Thank you so much for writing me! I am so sorry to hear that your daughter is living with PAI! It’s hard to live with. You are absolutely right, it’s not being announced or acknowledged that it can be directly related to steroid use! My doctors finally got the right dose going so that I’m feeling much better, thank you so much! I hope that your daughter is feeling well now! 😊

  2. Stuart W Ross says:

    The best articulation of the condition and relationship between Cortef and body function. I am a newly diagnosed patient with secondary adrenal insufficiency and I found this very useful.

    • Lisa Burks says:

      Hi Stuart!

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! I’m sorry to hear that you are newly diagnosed as well! It’s hard! I’m glad that you found my post helpful! Do the drs know why you developed SAI?

  3. Mieke says:

    I got PAI but not due to steroids use, auto-immune, I developed colitis after. But I do keep warning people do be careful when taking any type of steroids for a long time. I know what the disease is like and both are awful. But if you only have one, you’d rather want to keep it at one!

  4. Carole Whitwer says:

    Thank you Lisa for the informative article. I’m new with the ADI, starting with Cortisol AM, 1.6mcg. PM 0.8
    I’m taking HC 20mg 10.5 am
    5mg PM. I’m not positive but I believe the ADI started from getting Cortisone injections for Chronic back pain, over a period of 10yrs. Injections at L-4-5 levels, SI Joints, Sciatic, Hip and knees. They do help controlling pain for sure.
    I’ve never been told that these have or Could cause the condition so I was wondering in your research, if you’ve seen any studies concerning this type of cause

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