Prednisone Side Effects and Asthma

Prevent Prednisone Side Effects

Prednisone side effects
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Question: Prednisone Side Effects and Asthma

Answer: Prednisone side effects and other oral corticosteroid side effects are more likely to occur because these drugs are absorbed by and affect your entire body. On the other hand, inhaled and topical corticosteroids act on and are mostly absorbed in a particular area, making them less likely to cause significant side effects. Side effects are dose dependent-- meaning side effects are more common at higher doses.

Prednisone side effects can be broken down into side effects occurring in the short or long term.

Short Term Prednisone Side Effects

Prednisone side effects that can occur days after starting medication include:

Long Term Prednisone Side Effects

Prednisone side effects that can occur days after taking medication for a longer period of time include:

  • Cataracts
  • Elevated blood sugar that can lead to or worsen diabetes
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Loss of calcium from bones lead to osteoporosis
  • Irregular periods
  • Bruising of the skin
  • Poor wound healing
  • Adrenal gland suppression that inhibits a normal response to produce the hormone cortisol under stress

Preventing Prednisone Side Effects

While needing prednisone is a sign of poor asthma control, Many patients will need them and you will want to make sure that you prevent any side effects if possible.

The following are some ways to prevent possible side effects due to prednisone:

  • Bone density loss. Taking calcium and Vitamin D are one supplement that you should discuss with your doctor if you need to take repeated courses of prednisone. You should try to make surethat you take at least 1500 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D. If you don't like to take supplements make sure that you supplement your diet with milk products like cheese and yogurt. Additionally, your doctor may conside ordering a DEXA scan to make sure your bones are healthy.
  • Exercise. Steroids are associated with poor glucose control and exercise is one thing in your control that will help you maintain a health weight and decrease your risk of diabetes. Most Americans do not get enough exercise. Talk with your doctor about an exercise prescription but most Americans should have a goal of 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity¬† like walking daily. For bone health, weight-bearing exercises are most important.
  • High blood pressure and diet. Prednisone can lead to elevations in your blood pressure. Carefully monitoring your salt intake is one thing that you can do to decrease your blood pressure. Additionally monitoring your fat intake is a dietary measure that can help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you have needed multiple courses of prednisone you may want to discuss bone-preserving medications such as alendronate (Fosamax), calcitonin (Miacalcin), raloxifene (Evista), and risedronate (Actonel) with your doctor.

Sources:

Medline Plus. Accessed August 15, 2009. Prednisone

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