The Side Effects of Taking Steroids

Steroids are a type of medication that can help people get stronger, build muscle and lose weight. They’re often used in conjunction with a proper diet and exercise routine.

They can be taken as tablets, liquids or creams and may also be injected into the skin. They work by reducing inflammation, for example in conditions like arthritis and lupus.

The side effects of taking steroids depend on the dose and how long you’re on them for. Usually, the side effects go away after you stop taking them. If you’re unsure about how to take them or have any questions, ask your doctor for advice.

Taking steroids can cause your blood sugar to rise, so you may have a higher risk of diabetes. Your doctor will check your blood sugar regularly while you’re on steroids and let you know if it has risen.

You should avoid alcohol while on steroids as it can make your stomach upset. You should also avoid a lot of foods that are high in fat or salt while you’re on steroids, as these can increase the risk of having stomach problems.

It’s important to get regular blood tests while you’re on steroids, especially if you have a condition that affects your immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. The results of your tests will tell your doctor if you need to change the type or dose of your medications.

In some cases, it’s possible for a person to become addicted to steroids. They can develop a physical and psychological dependence to the drug and will want to take it in large amounts despite the negative effects on their body. They can experience withdrawal symptoms when they quit cold turkey, such as headaches and muscle cramps.

These drugs can weaken your bones, which means you’re more likely to break them. This is particularly true if you’re a young person who hasn’t had their normal growth spurt yet.

They can also cause you to gain weight and increase your appetite. This is because your body’s hormones become altered after a period of steroid use, so you’ll want to make wise food choices and include some physical activity in your daily life while you’re on them.

Your bones can also suffer from a condition called osteoporosis, which makes them more likely to break. This is a serious problem, so if you think that you’re having this side effect, contact your doctor for advice as soon as possible.

Using steroids can increase your risk of developing heart disease and high cholesterol levels, so if you’re at risk, talk to your doctor about getting regular blood test results. This is especially true if you’re on a long-term course of steroids.

Some people with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, can develop a steroid allergy, which causes the immune system to attack parts of the body. Symptoms include swelling, itching and a red rash. If you have a steroid allergy, your doctor will prescribe an alternative medicine to treat the problem.

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