Steroid therapy is the use of steroid medications, also known as corticosteroids, to treat many types of autoimmune disease, including myasthenia gravis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis, and other disorders, such as asthma. Steroid medications include medications like prednisone and cortisone. Corticosteroids can be taken orally or in other ways, such as by inhalation.
According to Western medicine, steroid medications are medically necessary to treat many conditions and diseases. But steroid medications have major effects on the metabolism of calcium and bone, which may lead to severe bone loss, osteoporosis, and bone fractures. As a matter of fact, high dosage of steroid medications can cause rapid bone loss, up to as much as 15 percent per year. If you are on steroids, you are more than twice as likely to have a fracture on the spine or the ribs as compared to a person not taking steroids. In addition, there are even different rates of bone loss among individuals on corticosteroids. Bone loss occurs most rapidly in the first six months after starting oral steroid medications. After 12 months of chronic steroid use, there is a slower rate of bone loss. Fracture risk generally increases as the daily doses of steroid medications increase, although not all patients who take steroid medications experience bone loss.
Other adverse side effects of steroid medications are elevation of blood pressure, weight gain, decreased resistance to infection, indigestion, thinning of skin, and potential development of cataracts and glaucoma.
For example, prednisone is a medication commonly prescribed for ocular myasthenia. However, four factors should be carefully considered prior to the use of steroids, especially if your myasthenia gravis is related only to ocular muscles:
Can steroids improve or eradicate your symptoms?
Are there other safer forms of therapy to treat your myasthenia gravis?
Does the severity of the symptoms warrant the risk of steroid adverse effects?
Do steroids reduce the chance of a relapse?
It stands to reason that the high risk of taking pharmaceutical drugs to treat only the symptoms without producing a cure may not warrant the continuation of the medications over a long period.
The bottom line: Set your goal to ultimately stop all medications. It may take weeks, months, or even years, but that should be your ultimate goal in your health pursuit.
Do not stop all medications right away.
Talk to your doctor about your concern. Express your wish to reduce your medications slowly and gradually.
If your doctor does not agree to your suggestion, look for another naturopathic doctor.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau