Are Steroid Injections Safe?

Are Steroid Injections Safe?

A Doctor Injects A Medical Injection Of Chondroprotector And Hyaluronic Acid Into The Knee Of A Woman

Having become synonymous with muscle-bound bodybuilders, steroids have established a reputation as a quick way for people to achieve an Olympian physique. But there are other types of steroids that are being used in the treatment of many different medical conditions as well.

Unlike regular, anabolic steroids, corticosteroid injections are used to help people suffering from various range of diseases and conditions that include rheumatoid arthritis and tendonitis. These injections can help the patient in several different aspects.

What Are Corticosteroids?

Anabolic steroids consist of a substance that can help increase muscle strength and power. But steroid injections that are used to medically treat people consist of a substance called corticosteroids which are a type of drug that can help lower inflammation in the body and slow down the immune system activity. Corticosteroids resemble cortisol, a natural hormone that is produced in the body’s adrenal glands. Cortisol plays a role in many different bodily processes like immune response and stress.

What are Steroid Injections Used For?

Corticosteroid injections are used for a number of illnesses such as allergic reactions, auto-immune diseases, and even muscle and joint conditions. Examples of such conditions include:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lupus
  • IBS
  • Asthma
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • And Much More

Dangers and Side Effects of Steroid Injections

As with any sort of medication, steroid injections can come with a range of side effects which could be somewhat dangerous depending on the severity and constitution of the patient. There are both short-term and long term effects that can occur as a result of cortisone injections.

Short-Term Side Effects

Some of the most common short-term side effects include:

  • Cortisone Flares: A cortisone, or steroid flare, is when pain emerges at the site of injection which can range from mild to intense pain.
  • High Blood Sugar: Corticosteroids can temporarily increase blood sugar, especially in patients who have diabetes.
  • High Blood Pressure: A temporary increase in blood pressure can also occur with a larger increase occurring in those suffering from hypertension.
  • Face Flushing: Patients may have redness or flushing of the face a few hours or even days after the corticosteroids shot and are more common in women.

Long-Term Side Effects

These are some of the more common long-term side effects with severity ranging from mild to severe depending on the dosage and frequency of injections.

  • Osteoporosis: Some research and studies have shown that corticosteroid injections can lead to bone loss and osteoporosis.
  • Nerve Damage: There is a risk of the nerves being damaged by frequent steroid injections.
  • Skin Thinning: Known as Steroid Atrophy, the thinning of the skin can occur at the injection site.
  • Cataracts: Steroid injections can lead to a form of cataract known as posterior subcapsular cataracts which are highly treatable though.