Arthritis joint pain can be debilitating and stressful, and steroids that decrease inflammation are one option for those fighting this challenging disease.
Corticosteroids, which in addition to tackling inflammatory issues also decrease the immune response, are used to treat a wide range of health issues, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren's syndrome, and gout, WebMD said
, all of which have some elements of inflammatory conditions. Cortisone is a type of corticosteroid. Nasal sprays and oral steroids are used in treating asthma, allergies, and other illnesses too.
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Steroids, which can be injected directly into the affected joint, may be an excellent option when joint pain is relentless or inflammation is endangering a critical health system, but side effects are possible. The longer you take steroids, the higher the risk of side effects, WebMD said.
Here are eight side effects that you should be aware of when you're treating arthritis and other joint pain with steroids:
Don't use steroids, in general, if you have an infection in your body, even if it's not near the affected joint, WebMD said. "They could inhibit the natural infection-fighting immune response. Also, if a joint is already severely destroyed, injections are not likely to provide any benefit," the website said.
Oral steroids are the form most likely to cause more side effects, according to The Mayo Clinic
because they affect your entire body.
Softening or destruction of the joint can occur, although this side effect is rare, WebMD said
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Osteoporosis may occur in some cases, and WebMD recommended taking additional calcium and vitamin D while taking steroids.
With injections, shrinkage of skin at the injection site, as well as lightening of the pigment, may occur, MedicineNet reported
. It typically is a short-term reaction.
Tendons can be weakened by injections, and tendon ruptures have been reported, MN said.
If you have diabetes, be aware that steroids can elevate blood sugar levels.
With higher doses and frequent injections, long-term effects can include face puffiness, weight gain, thinner skin, easy bruising, and acne, MN said.
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