Steroid Treatment for Arthritis

Researches emphasize that steroids are effective for curing inflamed and aching joints in arthritis. Steroids check the inflammatory chemicals and the overactive functions of the white blood cells that destroy tissues at joints. Find out what it takes to use steroids for treating arthritis.

Steroids are defined as chemical substances that have the capacity to reduce swellings and inflammations to considerable extents. Steroids are also known as corticosteroids and/or glucocorticoids drugs. These drugs are related to the cortisol which is a hormone produced on the cortex of the adrenal glands. Scientists claim that arthritis symptoms that include joint inflammations coupled with pain and rigidity can be easily calmed down by taking steroids.

How steroids work for arthritis?

Steroids work effectively for arthritis conditions in a way that they reduce inflammations at joints by reducing the activity of the immune system. Inflammation is a process by which the white blood cells and chemicals are activated to protect the immune system against foreign substances and bacterial invasion.

Arthritis is a condition where the body’ defense mechanism works in a different and an overactive way to destroy and damage the tissues which have caused the inflammation at joints. This swelling is marked by pain, warmth and stiffness.

Steroids reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals in order to control further damage of tissues. They also induce the proper functioning of the white blood cells that helps in protecting the immune system.

Benefits of steroids for arthritis:

Steroids help in improving arthritis symptoms in the following ways:

  • Low doses of rheumatoid arthritis helps in reducing the pain and stiffness at joints
  • Temporary higher doses work wonders for severe swellings at joints

How are steroids taken?

Steroid can be taken either orally through the mouth or it can also be injected into the veins or muscles. Sometimes steroids are injected directly into the joints or the sac between the tendons and bones or around tissues and other tissues.

Why injecting steroids into the joint is more effective?

Steroid injections are more effective form of treatment for arthritis. Scientists claim that injecting an affected or aching joint allows higher doses for better and immediate results. Injecting steroid into the veins or when taken orally cannot determine the immediate and adequate effects of the drug for the painful joint.

In addition, they lead to no side effects and are tolerable. Injections also remove the need for oral intake of steroids which could have greater side effects.

When should steroid injections be avoided?

Avoid steroid injections when you are suffering from the following conditions:

  • If you are suffering from an infection in that area.
  • A joint severely affected or destroyed.
  • If you have an acute bleeding problem.
  • If you are taking blood thinners like anticoagulants.
  • Frequent use of steroids can weaken the tissues. So avoid if you have already been using it for three to four months now.

Side effects of steroids whether injected or taken orally:

Steroids can lead to serious side effects when taken orally. They can lead to possible outcomes:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Weight gain
  • Ruptured tendons
  • Discoloration of skin
  • Stomach irritation
  • High blood pressure
  • Water retention and swelling
  • Worsening diabetic conditions
  • Hormonal changes that leads to abnormal growth of hair

How to treat the side effects of steroids?

If you suffer from any of the above symptoms after taking steroids either orally or through injections, follow these tips and instructions:

  • Ensure that you use steroids only when it is absolutely necessary
  • Monitor to detect the side effects
  • Use steroids for a specific area if possible
  • Try taking less doses to improve your arthritis symptoms
  • Ensure that your blood pressure is regularly monitored by your doctor
  • Take calcium supplements to strengthen the bone structure

Researchers emphasize that steroids should be avoided if one is suffering from an infection in that area or is crippled by uncontrolled diabetes and/or congestive heart failure and high blood pressure. People suffering from peptic ulcers, osteoporosis or glaucoma should also avoid steroid treatment for arthritis.

Your doctor or rheumatologist can offer the best advice with respect to steroid treatment. After conducting a thorough examination of your overall health and fitness, the medications you are currently taking and your age, he or she would suggest whether a steroid treatment can be helpful for you or not.