Is Steroid Therapy Right FOR YOU PERSONALLY?

Steroid therapy is the utilization of steroid medications, also called corticosteroids, to treat many types of autoimmune disease, including myasthenia gravis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis, and other disorders, such as asthma. Steroid medications include medications like prednisone and cortisone. Corticosteroids can be prescribed to be taken orally or in different ways, such as by inhalation.
In accordance with Western medicine, steroid medications are medically essential to treat many conditions and diseases. It is vital not only to check out the recommendations of your medical expert regarding steroid use, assuming you have decided steroid therapy is right for you, but also to explore other medical options in case you have second thoughts about steroid medications.
Is steroid therapy right for you?
Steroid medications have major effects on the metabolism of calcium and bone. Steroid therapy can lead to severe bone loss, osteoporosis, and broken bones. High dosage of steroid medications could cause rapid bone loss, around around 15 percent per year. When you are on steroids, you are more than twice as more likely to have a spine fracture as compared to an individual not taking steroids. Fracture risk increases as the daily doses of steroid medications increases. The major impact of steroid medication on bone is fractures (broken bones) that occur mostly in the spine and ribs. You can find different rates of bone loss among individuals on corticosteroids. Bone loss occurs most rapidly in the first six months after starting oral steroid medications. After 12 months of chronic steroid use, you will find a slower loss of bone. However, it should be mentioned that not all patients who take steroid medications experience bone loss.
Other adverse unwanted effects of steroid medications are elevation of blood pressure, weight gain, decreased resistance to infection, indigestion, thinning of skin, and potential development of cataracts and glaucoma.
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Let me relate my own experience with steroid therapy.
I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis several years ago. Myasthenia gravis is really a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease seen as a varying levels of weakness of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles of your body. The hallmark of the condition is muscle weakness, which increases during periods of activity and anxiety, but improves after periods of rest and calm. Certain muscles, such as those that control eyes and eyelid movements, facial expression, talking, chewing and swallowing are often involved in this disorder. Furthermore, the muscles that control breathing, neck, and limb movements may also be affected.
Because of myasthenia gravis, I had developed ocular symptoms, such as for example ptosis (drooping of eyelids) and diplopia (double vision), and weak neck and limb muscles. Fortunately, I did not need weakness of the pharynx muscles, which could cause difficulty in chewing and swallowing, and also slurred speech in many cases of myasthenia gravis.
I was prescribed steroid medications and have been on a steroid therapy for three years. In addition, I was also given medications to cope with bone loss and other side adverse effects linked to the use of steroids.
In my case, there was some improvement, but not significant enough to make me decide to continue the steroid therapy after 3 years of treatment. I had to balance the risks of steroids and the outward symptoms of myasthenia gravis.
My rude awakening came when I realized that my immune system, which was the reason for the disease in the first place, is not only an integrated network of cells that could protect me in times of contamination, but also a system with many regulatory mechanisms that, if uncontrolled, would become my enemy instead of my friend. More importantly, these steroids may control the outward symptoms of myasthenia gravis, but they may also impair my immune system with lasting effects on my general health and wellness further down the road.
I recognized that the human body has a natural mechanism for self-healing, if given the appropriate environment. Accordingly, I took matters into my hands, and made a drastic decision to stop my steroid therapy without consulting my physician (Warning: I do not ask anyone to do the same.) I stopped the medication very gradually. Meanwhile, I did everything to improve my immune system through a thorough detoxification program, and a big change of diet. I did so not gain weight, my blood circulation pressure became normal and, most important of most, my myasthenia gravis conditions didn’t deteriorate. Up to today, I still have some double vision, which I have learned to cope with (I could still drive), but my other symptoms have disappeared. I have already been off steroid therapy for more than one decade already.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, once said: “No man is really a better physician than himself, who knows their own constitution.” No one can decide for you what is best for your health. A doctor can only give advice, but you are the person who makes the decision on whether steroid therapy is right for you personally. Listen to your body.