How Are Corticosteroids Bad For You And Why Does Your Doctor Use Them Anyway?

Side effects of corticosteroids

You’ve heard all the bad stuff about steroids and athletes, but have you considered how bad medical corticosteroids are?

Do you understand what harm steroids pose and why your doctor might choose to use them anyway?

Educate yourself about steroids so that you know what you might want to avoid and what to look for if you need to use them!

Remember, breath awareness results in increased health through better utilization of oxygen.  The work you do with the Life Breath Club has the potential to help you nurture your health and avoid dangerous health crisis that drive you to use drugs with dangerous side-effects!


Let’s start with the reasons your doctor might consider adding a round of steroids to your care plan.

Hydrocortisone (cortisol) is secreted by the adrenal cortex and contains hormones that are important in glucose metabolism.

Since the 1940s synthetic glucocorticoids have been developed for their anti-inflammatory and “immuno-modulatory” effects.

If you experience extreme swelling or difficulty breathing these drugs seem like a Godsend!

Reduce your inflammation and calm down your over excited immune system … what could be better?

A medical panacea!

Well, except for the side effects …


If you just use a short course of steroids to help you through a crisis there are still side effects that you should consider and watch for.

Some of these side effects may need immediate attention, so you don’t want to wait for trouble if you choose to use steroids, be pro-active.

WATCH for trouble if you use steroids.

Side effects seem annoying but harmless for short term use:

  • increase in appetite
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • changes in mood and behavior
  • flushing (redness) of the face
  • short-term weight gain due to increased water retention

#1  Take into consideration that increased appetite may cause unstable blood sugars and steroids are capable of elevating blood sugars as well.

The combination may prove more than you bargained for.

You don’t have a blood sugar (diabetes) concern UNTIL you do!

#2  Flushing redness in the face may be embarrassing but it also points to a worrisome issue with blood pressure.

As with blood sugar, you don’t know you have blood pressure issues UNTIL you do!

#3  Difficulty sleeping and normal emotional processing can cause water retention.

Add to that, medically induced fluid retention, insomnia, and emotional instability and even a 72 hour course of steroid could cause very significant fluid retention!

Congestive heart failure can go undiagnosed for years.  Sometimes fluid in your lungs sounds like wheezing and heart failure is mis-diagnosed as asthma.

Even if you don’t know you have heart failure, a small increase in fluid retention could be very harmful.


Side effects that are more concerning are listed as “complications” of underlying disease:

  • blood sugar elevation
  • blood pressure elevation
  • acute heart failure


We are still talking about short term use of steroids.

The conversation changes a LOT when we discuss LONG term use of corticosteroids.

That can be an over whelming subject!

I’ll dig into just how deadly steroids can be in my next members only post.


In the meantime, IF you need to take steroids for any reason:

  • check your blood pressure frequently
  • monitor your blood sugar or report any unusual symptoms to your doctor
  • don’t be quick to drug elevated glucose levels following a short term course of steroids, it may be unnecessary AND dangerous!
  • watch your weight for sudden extreme gain and communicate with your doctor because this could be dangerous
  • steroids are often given to help  you breathe easier, but be aware that side-effects may cause MORE difficulty breathing


What other questions do you have for the Life Breath Coach?

Ask our questions in the comment section below.


Many blessings,

Carrie Tucker, RCP

The Life Breath Coach

Heart Failure Solutions


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