Steroids are used to treat asthma. They help calm and inhibit the airways’ inflammation, which is vital in managing the condition’s symptoms. Steroids have anti-inflammatory components, which makes them suitable for treating respiratory diseases such as asthma. Steroid medications such as prednisone are taken through inhalation, orally, or by injection. Steroids are essential in managing asthma symptoms such as coughing and loss of breathlessness. They also help protect your lungs when exposed to triggers by preventing the triggers from reacting with them.
What are steroids (‘corticosteroids’)?
Not to be confused with the steroids that help build muscle, corticosteroids are drugs that are administered to treat chronic diseases. They have anti-inflammatory properties that make them useful in reducing swellings and mucus production in the respiratory system. Steroids can also assist in ensuring quick-relief medicines are more effective. There is a difference between steroids used in treating respiratory diseases like asthma and those used by athletes. Corticosteroids are safe and do not have any adverse effects on your liver or your fertility.
What are the circumstances under which your doctor can prescribe steroids to treat your asthma?
A physician can prescribe steroids for asthma treatment when they want to help your body manage the asthma symptoms. The prescription often involves low steroid dosages that are necessary. Some of the reasons why a doctor would prescribe steroids for you are:
- Suppose you are using an inhaler reliever three or more times in a week. The first reason why you would get a steroid prescription to treat your asthma is when you start using an inhaler regularly. Steroids will help your body to cope with inflammations in your airways and treat other respiratory symptoms.
- When you experience an asthma attack, your physician may prescribe you to start using steroid tablets to mitigate the symptoms when you experience an asthma attack. The most commonly used steroid tablets are prednisolone that can reach your airways and help treat the attack’s swellings.
- You are experiencing asthma symptoms even after using your prescribed preventer inhaler. If you continue experiencing asthma symptoms after taking the preventer inhaler recommended by your doctor, they will prescribe steroids. The steroid tablets help manage your asthma attack symptoms quickly.
- Suppose you have severe asthma. Some doctors prescribe steroid tablets for patients who have developed severe asthma. The prescriptions often include longer course steroid drugs with higher doses.
What are the side effects of using steroids in asthma treatment?
Although steroids are recommended for treating asthma, they often have side effects when taken orally and used over extended periods. The side effects can be categorized as short-term or long-term effects.
Short-term side effects of steroid asthma treatments:
- Weight gain
- Fluid retention
- High blood sugar
- High blood pressure
Long-term side effects of steroid asthma treatments:
- Growth suppression
- Increased muscle weakness
- Cataracts in your eyes
- Bone-thinning or osteoporosis
When should you use inhaled steroids to treat asthma?
Are you wondering when you should get a steroid prescription for your asthma treatment? If yes, you need to acknowledge that anti-inflammatory asthma inhalers are prescribed as the first-line control treatment for people with asthma. Once the inhaled steroids are introduced, you will decrease the use of oral steroids, such as prednisone. Inhaled steroids have minimal side effects compared to oral ones. Some of the potential side effects of asthma inhalers are thrush and hoarseness, especially among the elderly. Once you have used your inhaler, you should thoroughly rinse your mouth with clean water. This helps you minimize the risk of oral thrush due to inhalation of the steroids.
Does the human body produce steroids?
Why do I need steroids frequently to manage my asthma?
Yes, the human body naturally produces corticosteroids that have similar properties as cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone provided by the adrenal glands, and it is among the naturally occurring steroids in the body. Cortisol is an essential hormone that promotes your wellbeing. When you are undergoing stress, the body produces extra cortisol that protects it from becoming very ill. Usually, your adrenal glands release cortisol hormone into the bloodstream each morning, and your brain regulates it. Your body cannot differentiate the natural cortisone or the one introduced by steroid medicines. If you increase your steroid intakes and sustain it for a long time, your body would stop producing the hormone, which is known as adrenal suppression. The remedy for this condition is a decrease in steroid dosage, which allows your body to let the adrenal glands recover and start producing cortisol.
When you start to rely so much on steroids to manage your asthma, it would indicate poor control of your breathing passage. It would also mention that you are frequently exposed to a potential allergen. You should consider getting in touch with your doctor and inquire about inhaled anti-inflammatory treatments. They are designed to help prevent the inflammation of your air passage and prevent overreliance on steroids.
Steroids are used in treating asthma. If a patient has mild persistent asthma, low doses of corticosteroids can be administered to help manage the symptoms. The drugs are suitable for both adults and children as long as the right dosage is used. Low doses of steroids have limited side effects in adults and may limit growth in children. Corticosteroids are also used in treating other respiratory illnesses that lead to the inflammation of the airways. Medical research has proved that low-dose inhaled steroids are highly effective in treating mild asthma. Get in touch with the experts at Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy today — a group of specialists and physicians that specialize in all ENT-related issues.
This content was sponsored by Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy.