What are steroids?

Steroids are artificially prepared chemical compounds that are used for various medical conditions. They are synthetic hormones that have proved to show quick improvement in the muscle and other body part regeneration.

They are made up of cyclohexane and cyclopentane rings. Steroids are short acting but quick in their action.

Steroids play a role in the symptomatic relief of the conditions which are not entirely treatable or which take a long time to heal. Steroids have been shown to boost muscle mass and activity hence are wrongly used in various sporting events. Therefore steroids are available only if prescribed by a certified professional.

What are the symptoms for which steroids are generally prescribed?

1. To reduce pain.

2. To reduce inflammation

3. To ease joint movements

4. To reduce the symptoms of various autoimmune disorders

5. To reduce the symptoms of organ transplant.

Why are steroids considered harmful?

Steroids act magically fast in relieving extreme pain and inflammation etc, but at the same time, it has a tremendous amount of I’ll effects. They have serious side effects on the human body functions which in turn makes them less preferred.

on what factors does the adversity of steroids depend upon?

1. Type of steroids

2. Dose of steroids.

3. Frequency of steroid administration.

4. Route of steroids administration

5. Condition which is being treated and other autoimmune factors.

What are the complications of steroids?

1. Acute kidney injury: steroids have in them a component called cyclohexane. Cyclohexane shows an adverse effect on the kidneys. It damages the kidneys and hence causes toxicity. Toxicity leads to damage to the kidneys and thus causes reduced kidney functions leading to acute kidney injury.

2. Liver damage: As the liver is the major metabolizing unit of the body, cyclohexane, and cyclopentane when entering the first pass metabolism pathway induce stress on the liver and thus cause its destruction. This can also lead to liver failure. It can therefore lead to jaundice, hepatic failure, and hepatomegaly.

3. Osteoporosis: long term use of steroids lead to brittle bones and a weak skeletal system. Bone resorption exceeds bone formation. Thus a patient on long term steroid use is prone to fractures, bone weakness, and other skeletal issues.

3. Infections: patients on steroids show diminished immunological capacity. Lung infections, abscess formation, and poor wound healing are more likely.

4. Hair loss and skin abnormalities can appear after long term use of corticosteroids. Redness of skin, ecchymosis, rashes, dry scalp, dry skin, oily skin, skin abrasions, etc. is common.

5. Hypothalamic pituitary axis suppression: abnormal hormonal levels and secretion leads to various health issues like low growth hormone leads to dwarfism or stunted growth. Adrenocorticotropic hormone ( ACTH) access leads to Cushing’s syndrome. Excess steroids can lead to Cushing’s syndrome.

6. Weight gain and obesity: a most common complication of steroids is weight gain. Abnormal accumulation of adipose tissue is another among the common. Due to liver dysfunction, the adipose tissue is deposited in the peripheral part and central parts of the body leading to puffiness of the extremities, face, and abdomen.

7. Optic effects: steroids can cause blurring of vision, glaucoma, night blindness, colored vision abnormalities, cataract, and dry or watery eyes.

8. Atherosclerosis: narrowing of the blood vessel lumen due to the accumulation of fat globules is a common cardiovascular risk. I’m steroid use.

9. Comorbid condition: early onset of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, or drug induced hypertension, and diabetes mellitus is noted.

10. Psychological issues: sleep disturbances, agitation, depression, irritability, etc. Can be encountered.

11. Digestive Ill effects: gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, gastritis, H pylori infection, constipation, loose stools, loss of appetite, or over eating can be evident.

12. Reproductive health: impotence may result due to excessive steroid administration.

General complications of steroid usage.

1. Alterations in mental status can be one of the complaints of the patient’s caregivers.

2. Addiction may occur and over steroid use may result

3. Agitation and anxiety may result after the withdrawal of the steroid dose or reduction of the dose.

4. Hallucinations are another issue of steroid use.

5. Altered appetite may result.

long term complications of steroid usage in children.

1. Cushingoid symptoms.

2. Hirsutism

3. Stunted growth and abnormal physical appearance of the child.

3. Reduced kidney functions result in excess water and fluid retention in the body.

4. Juvenile onset of diabetes

5. Obesity


Steroids are synthetic compounds that show quick anti-inflammatory and analgesic actions. Steroid therapy is the one of the last modes of treatment and is not regarded as the primary treatment option as it has remarkable side effects. It has ill effects on the cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal systems. Endocrine glands and the hepatobiliary tract are affected as well. Mental inadequacy and confusion are all associated features of long term steroid usage. It may lead to addiction. Autoimmune disorders, severe pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and trauma cases have prednisolone or other corticosteroids or mineralocorticoid as one of the medications. It gives symptomatic relief for disorders like golfer’s elbow, and tennis elbow. But the condition reappears within 6 months to 10 months.

It has shown serious health issues in children and the geriatric population as well.