Steroids and Diabetes - Can Steroids make You Diabetic?

Updated on 17 Aug 2009,
Published on 17 Aug 2009

A close relation between steroids and the development of diabetes has been noticed. Steroids are a group of hormones that is commonly used in medications for the treatment of asthma, arthritis and pain syndrome. Steroids are one of the most effective treatments for inflammation. There are a number of types of steroids but those of which we are particularly concerned about right now are the cortisone or corticosteroids. They are produced naturally in the adrenal gland and are also known as glucocorticoids. The steroids despite addressing a number of diseases tend to cause a number of side effects as well.

One of the most serious side-effects of steroids is the influence of blood sugar level of the patient. Corticosteroids is a very effective medicine in the treatment of diseases like asthma, chronic lung disease, arthritis, many skin problems and allergic reactions such as poison ivy, however such good drugs are found to be useless to diabetic patients as it induces high blood sugar level.

Medication like nasal inhalation of steroids, small doses of steroid creams applied on the skin can’t cause problems to diabetic patients. However, if a diabetic patient is either injected or ingested with pills then the blood sugar level of the patient might elevate from moderate to severe. The elevation will occur within 12 hours or may be right after the medication. As a result of the elevation the doses given to the patient may also increase by double in order to control the blood sugar level. And if the patient is suffering from Type 2 diabetes, the doctor might prescribe some additional drugs to control the diabetes. Once the intake of steroid is discontinued, the effects of steroids are reversible.

In some cases, patients unfortunately have to get steroids medication as other therapy may not work out. When such a situation arises, the patient must consult with the doctor in order to deal with the increase in the blood sugar level. Steroids intake makes insulin less effective resulting in the rise of blood sugar level in diabetic patients. In normal person, pancreas produces additional insulin which keep the blood sugar level within the normal range. And if the pancreas is unable to produce the additional insulin, the blood sugar level elevates from the normal level and this condition is known as “steroid-induced diabetes”.

Person using steroid continuously may develop a condition known as steroid induced diabetes which could be an early indication of developing diabetes even after discontinuing steroid. Steroids are used to treat problems like inflammation and immune disorders. However, the intake of steroids may induce a number of side effects. In order to keep such side effects at bay the doctor prescribe small doses.

The human body, before waking up releases extra cortisol. Individuals those who are non-diabetic tend to produce more insulin that helps to deal with the cortisol release. The increase in the cortical level of the body automatically triggers the rise in blood sugar level. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the Dawn phenomenon. Cortisol is responsible for causing stress to diabetic patient as it increases blood sugar level and blood pressure thereby suppressing the immune system. In pets, cortical may cause hyperglycemia.

Suggested Reading:
steroids side effects on women
steroids and deaths
diabetes control diet tips

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