During my lecture in a community setting, a lot of people recommended a specific vitamin to their fellow men. I wonder what vitamin is it since they utter a lot of good benefits when taking it. One woman shared that his husband was very thin. After taking the said vitamins, he gains weight. Someone supported the testimony and also shared her experience with that wonder pill. “Yes, it can increase your appetite and it is advisable to use especially to those skinny who wants to be fat. Then, the listeners where very curious and they didn’t hesitate to ask what is the name of the vitamin and where to buy. A woman said prednisone or dexamethasone I think. “You can easily buy it in the side walk every Saturday at a specific market with very reasonable price, she added.” As soon as I heard the said names, a big question mark sets in my mind. Steroids ? How come they love using this drug as a daily vitamin and broadcast its side effects positively? I explained to them and warn them to stop taking it before it’s too late. As what I have observed, the community people easily imitate the medications their neighbors use without consulting a physician. Lack of knowledge and ignorance may lead to disaster.
Steroids are naturally secreted by the body, specifically by the adrenal glands. Steroids help and support body processes especially in controlling inflammation and helping the body respond in times of stress. There are diseases that are due to inflammation and can be combated by giving steroids. Examples of these are bronchial asthma, allergy, acute arthritis, kidney inflammation and many others. In high doses, steroids work by suppressing the inflammation that underlies the disease process, and thus the bad effects of the inflammation is controlled as in asthma treatment. Steroid is like a “wonder drug” since there is tremendous improvement when taken.
However, there are ill effects when steroid is taken for a long time or at high doses. Since it is an anti-inflammation drug, it can also switch off other body responses including suppression of production of steroids. Once steroid intake is stopped, a suppressed person may not be able to respond to a stressful situation and can have an adrenal shock. It also suppresses the response to infections, thus making that person susceptible to common infections.
You can easily tell when people take steroids for a long time or in big amounts because there will be rounding of the face (moon faced), increase in appetite and weight. The increase in body fat is distributed in the trunk and back of the neck, called the buffalo hump. He can develop dark skin discoloration and stretch marks or striae in his body. Aside from these visible side effects, other changes are also happening inside. The blood sugar will go up, the blood pressure rises and the bones become brittle leading to osteoporosis. Overwhelming infection (sepsis) or disseminated tuberculosis are common consequences. Steroid is a very good drug. But it has to be taken only when necessary. Therefore, before you take any medicines read the labels first or ask your doctor what kind of medicine he or she is giving you.
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