Playing with Fire: The Lethal Risks of Steroid Consumption
Topical Steroids Uses and Side Effects
Topical steroids are widely used in medicine to treat dermatitis problems. They are a great agent to reduce skin inflammation, but their use also can bring a long certain health problems that are worth knowing about. In this article I will explore the good, the bad and the ugly of topical steroid creams.
They were first introduced in dermatology back in the 50s, and they became the first line of treatment against skin inflammations (eczema, dermatitis) and other skin conditions. This type of medication is not safe, like with all meds out there an abuse of them will bring along side effects.
Currently we can find steroids classified according to their strength. We have currently 4 classes of these, being Class 1 the most potent. Doctors will be the ones who will prescribe you the use of them, but in general it is recommended to use the cream that is less potent and does its job. In other cases, however, depending on the skin condition doctors can direct you to use a potent class for just a few days and then stop completely.
The Dangerous Side Effects Of Steroids
Commonly prescribed drugs and their dangerous side effects
A medical investigation in the United States has shown that three times more people die from legal prescription drugs than from illegal narcotic drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. This study does not account for the contra-indications of the drugs, which kill at least 30,000 a year in the U.S.
These are people who take medications, but have conditions (including drug allergies) that would cause these drugs to be dangerous for them. It is nearly impossible to determine how many people are being hospitalized because of contra-indications from drugs, but careful official estimates indicate that they make up about 5 percent of all lying in American and British hospitals today.
Steroids belong to another group of drugs that were formerly used only for extreme, life-threatening conditions. Today, they are used for minor problems such as sunburn, skin eruptions, acne and glandular fever. Patients are rarely aware of the dangers that may arise from taking these drugs. Side effects include high blood pressure, stomach ulcers with possible perforation of the stomach wall (this is how my father died), cramps and dizziness, inhibited growth in children within six weeks of taken the drugs, irregular menstruation, weakening of muscular strength, slowed healing of wounds, vision problems, skin atrophy, allergic shock, loss of libido, decrease in bone density, manic depression, and the emergence of latent diabetes.
Steroids are now handed out, even for babies, at the first sign of inflammation of any kind. But these drugs cannot cure a single condition; all they do is stop the body from responding to an abnormal condition. The new diseases caused by such drugs may require further treatment using even stronger drugs, thus adding more side effects to the ones that have already occurred.
The latest ‘breakthrough’ drugs for arthritis produce such strong side effects that it might be better to live with arthritis than to risk one’s life. The manufacturer of one popular brand was obliged to warn the consumer that this particular drug was very strong and had led to cases of leukemia (cancer of the blood) even after short term use. Additionally, the drug can have 92 side effects including hepatitis, high blood pressure, dizziness and unconsciousness, as well as headaches. The manufacturer advises the attending physician to enlighten his patients about the possible dangers that can arise from taking the drug, particularly if they are over 40 years old, and to use the smallest possible, but still effective, dosage. The manufacturers admit that the drug can cause serious and life-threatening reactions while having no effect on improving the condition of the disease!
NSAIDs, the common name for over a dozen or more non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen), are used to treat rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. However, for the past few years, these drugs have been given to people for such simple complaints as recurring headaches or inflammation. In return for the pain relief, however, the patient may die as a result of gastric bleeding caused by the extreme toxicity of the drugs. A warning placed on each NSAID prescription says: “Serious gastrointestinal toxicity such as bleeding, ulceration, and perforation can occur at any time, with or without warning symptoms, in patients treated chronically with NSAID therapy.”
If this doesn’t sound like Russian Roulette to you, the death toll from taking these drugs may convince you otherwise. In the U.K., 4,000 people die each year from taking NSAIDS. In the U.S., the fatality figure is up to five times as high as it is in the U.K. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized due to gastric bleeding caused directly by taking NSAIDs. Other side effects include perforation of the colon, colitis, Crohn’s disease, blurred vision, Parkinson’s disease, liver and kidney damage, hepatitis and hypertension.