Steroids News Blog

Understanding the two sides of steroids

Over 1.5 percent of the population (most commonly over the age of 50) uses steroids hormones for treatment from various diseases. Glucocorticoid is a steroid hormone that is used for treating disease that is caused by inflammation such as asthma and arthritis. Yet the side effects of these steroids, especially of low dose over a pro longed time on the body, are unknown.

A team of researchers led by Dr Morton Burt, a senior medical professor have been trying to figure out the effects of steroid hormones taken over a long period in small doses on the body. Dr Morton Burt says that it is already proven by researchers that the use of these steroids in high doses can lead to diabetes, chronic diseases and weight gain but as most of the patients are only treated with low dose of steroid hormone, that too over a long period of time, the evidence of its effects are few.

The research team is trying to find out that whether steroids reduce the production of insulin in the body or make the body resistant to it. Insulin is a hormone in the body that decreases the level of glucose in the body. Insufficient insulin in the body can result in the glucose level in the body rising, causing diabetes. The metabolism in many patients was studied in detail. These included patients who just started steroid treatment and those who have had a pro long steroid treatment.

Insulin was injected into people and insulin levels were measured after an hour.  Second test involved injecting both insulin and glucose and the resistivity of insulin in muscle. The liver was also checked. The initial results showed that the steroids only caused the glucose level in blood to be high only after eating. After eating, most of the glucose was taken by the muscles which showed that the steroid briefly creates resistivity to insulin in the muscle.

Another case that Dr Morton Burt is studying is patients with pituitary tumor and the effect of both high and low dose of steroid treatment that they are receiving on the heart diseases. The theory explained here is that after eating most of the blood vessels in our body, dilates relax but for patients with steroid therapy, this will not be the case.

Dr Morton Burt supported by a South Australian Health Practitioner Fellowship, aims to develop a new treatment. The treatment has a very low chance of developing chronic disease especially in those patients who have developed diabetes due to steroid treatment. He added that steroids are one of the most important substances in treatment of heart disease and understanding the side effects especially on a prolonged low dose will change the therapy process.

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