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Jane’s Blog Prednisone / Steroids Dangers

Posted by Jane Jansen on

Four years ago I wrote about patient of mine who after a natural treatment regime was able to come totally off prednisone! Guess what, he still doing fantastic and has no aches or pains, no swelling. Also he's not the only one!

It truly gives me great pleasure to help patients who take steroids for a variety of reasons achieve this huge hurdle. Particularly since my mother, who was my best friend, passed away 30 years ago at the young age of 58 (I am 63 now) of liver failure caused by prednisone. Toward the end she was suffering extremely from the side effects of this medication and her quality of life became a living hell. I saw a vibrant woman significantly age in just 2 years. She missed out on so many wonderful things including getting to see my children grow up, as well as her many other grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Initially prednisone seems like a godsend for patients suffering with auto-immune disorders. All of a sudden their symptoms like pain and swelling are magically gone. They have never felt so good. Unfortunately what they are not told is the downside of this medication, “The Side Effects”.  

Long term use of corticosteroids like prednisone can cause significant side effects which may include: Elevated pressure in the eyes causing glaucoma, cataracts, and bulging eyes, also fluid retention, causing swelling throughout your body particularly in your lower legs, high blood pressure, as well as psychological effects including moodiness, anxiety, memory and anger behavior, and insomnia. Steroids can also cause weight gain, with fat deposits in your abdomen, face and the back of your neck, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, thinning skin, bruising, slow wound healing, increased risk of infections, increased body and facial hair and diabetes.

Worst of all patients can’t seem to come off this medication even when their doctor wants them to. My Mom saw doctor after doctor in Boston but with no success. (If I had only known then, what I know now.) Corticosteroids also have major effects on the liver, particularly when given long term and in higher than physiologic doses.  Glucocorticoid use can result in hepatic enlargement and steatosis or glycolgenosis and corticosteroids may act to worsen an underlying nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

High doses of intravenous corticosteroids have been associated with acute liver injury, which can result in acute liver failure and DEATH!

Patients on steroids for prolonged periods can become addicted and unable to withdraw from taking the drugs because when the body is flooded with extra cortisone, the adrenal glands decrease their own output sometimes to zero. In the past deaths from lack of adrenal gland function has occurred when patients have been suddenly taken off steroids.

Often steroids like prednisone need to be reduced even more slowly than most physicians’ protocol tell you to do, so the adrenals can start making cortisone on their own again, but this process is extremely slow. For patients on long term steroid use, it could take up to two years for the body to produce enough adrenal hormone to respond.

 The longer and higher the dose the slower the tapering needs to be. This is why we advise our patients there is no one size fits all protocol. Each person needs to go at their own body’s pace, which we help them with.

At the same time (and this is important!) we also put into place support for the immune system to help keep it from over reacting which causes flare-ups. Moducare (Wakunaga) acts as an immune modulator which helps to keep the immune system stable. It is a unique blend of plant sterols and sterolins that helps maintain a healthy balance of Th-1 and Th-2 white blood cells to dampen an overactive immune response, and modulates the stress response by promoting an optimal DHEA-to-cortisol ratio.

Also natural anti-inflammatories are an absolute for most health problems particularly auto-immune disorders and inflammatory conditions such as asthma. Healthful – Zymes™ with Curcumin C3 complex (Healthful Balance) is a special balance of enzymes, antioxidants and nutrients designed to support a healthful inflammatory response. It is an extremely effective inflammation modulator which should be taken between meals (on an empty stomach) for chronic and acute musculoskeletal pain, swelling and inflammation. Enzymes work by breaking up circulating immune complexes (CICs) which are at the root of inflammation. These circulating complexes of damaged proteins made up of cellular antibodies, antigens, and diseased tissue accumulate in the body parts such as the blood vessels, joints, and other tissues where they become systemic irritants, causing inflammation, and delay to the healing process. Enzymes, with their proteolytic capabilities, help to breakup and destroy these bad proteins and immune complexes, helping the immune system to do its job better by removing inflammatory substances. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high... it's around 3%, therefore it needs to be extracted out making it more concentrated and effective.

Another key component is for us to figure out what your triggers are. What is aggravating this immune system and causing it to become so agitated and attack the joints. This can be stress, dietary allergies, environmental allergies, hormonal imbalances, sleep issues etc.

Once we get all the pieces of the puzzle put in place the greatest news I love to hear from my patients is “ I don’t need prednisone anymore and I feel great!”

So can you!

Jane Jansen  Natural Practitioner Tree of Life Wellness Center Inc.

Host Holistic Healthline Radio

Call 508-336-4242 to schedule a telephone or in-office appointment.


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