An informed arthritis patient is always an intelligent arthritis patient. Conquer rather than cope with your arthritis.

All about Steroids

What are steroids?
Steroids are synthetic drugs that resemble cortisone, a hormone produced in the body. These are not the same as those used by athletes (anabolic steroids) or those used by to control menopausal symptoms (Hormone replacement therapy)
How do steroids work?
Steroids suppress the immune system. This suppression can be utilised in treatment of autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis.
What do you mean by an autoimmune disease?
Normally, body's immune system is designed to fight micro organisms causing infections. Due to various reasons, the immune system may start considering its own body organs as foreign & attacks it. This self intolerance is known as autoimmunity. The condition it results into is called as autoimmune disease.
How are steroids administered?
Steroids can be given orally, intravenously or by the intramuscular route. They can also be given in joints/ tendons. This latter route is used when high concentration of steroids is required in an anatomical location.
Oral- most common form of administering steroids.
Intramuscular- A slow release preparation (generally methylprednisolone) is given. This releases about 5 mg dose per day & is a low dose steroid therapy.
Intravenous- This is used in emergencies & is a high dose steroid therapy. This requires admission & monitoring during the infusion. Methylprednisolone is the most common steroid used for the infusion. 
When are steroids used?
Steroids are used in autoimmune conditions. They are used in high doses for life threatening complications of these autoimmune conditions. They are also used when the autoimmune conditions are very severe.
What are the benefits of steroids?
Steroids can be organ saving & even life saving when the autoimmune disease is very active. It can also help control the inflammation in Rheumatoid arthritis and especially the acute flares of arthritis.

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Also Read:
How to arrange your kitchen if you have arthritis?
How to plan a house cleaning job if you have arthritis.

Created on: April 2007
Last updated on: Feb 2015
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