- Home Page
- Eczema & I
- Eczema Solutions
A Little Cortisone History
Cushing's syndrome is the medical name associated with the ill effects bought on by the body's over-production of natural cortisol (cortisone), as well as the long term use of cortisone preparations both oral and topical. The life threatening Cushing's syndrome or Hypercortisolism is an endocrine disorder caused when the body's tissues are exposed to excessive levels of the body's corticosteroid hormone - cortisol, and may be induced as a side effect of the long term or excessive use of synthetically derived corticosteroids. It was discovered by American physician, surgeon and endocrinologist Harvey Cushing (1869-1939) and reported by him in 1932.
Many people suffer the symptoms of Cushing's syndrome because they take glucocorticoid hormones such as prednisone and other cortisone preparations, for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other inflammatory and auto-immune diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. The most significant symptom of its prolonged use is Atrophy - thinning of the skin (and other tissue) causing it to become extremely fragile. Add to that the fact that high strength steroids used over large areas may be significantly absorbed into the body causing bone demineralisation, that is osteoporosis; and by their immuno-suppression action they can, if used alone, exacerbate some skin infections (fungal or viral).
The Many Symptoms include:rapid weight gain, partic ularly of the trunk and face (moon face), excess sweating, dilation of capillaries, atrophy of the skin and other mucous membranes, purple or red striae (stretch marks) on the trunk, buttocks, arms, legs or breasts, proximal muscle weakness (hips, shoulders), and facial male-pattern hair growth. A common sign is the growth of fat pads along the collar bone and on the back of the neck (known as a buffalo hump).
The excess cortisol may also affect other endocrine systems (endocrine glands produce hormones that regulate growth, sexual development, thyroid and other important body functions) and cause, for example, reduced libido, impotence, amenorrhea (absence of the menstrual period) and infertility.
Patients frequently suffer various psychological disturbances, ranging from euphoria to frank psychosis. Depression anxiety, and panic attacks are common. Other signs include persistent hypertension and insulin resistance, leading to hyperglycemia (high blood sugars); many develop frank diabetes. Untreated Cushing's syndrome can lead to heart disease and increased mortality.
The ill-effectsof cortisone are well known and documented in medical and scientific circles. Any search on the internet of cortisone preparations and their side effects will reveal some very disturbing facts. Sadly many doctors and skin specialists choose to either- ignore these facts because they have their blinkers on in regards to other more natural treatments or; they will loosely advise their patients of the dangers of the long-term use of cortisone whilst still writing prescriptions for these drugs for patients under long term care.
Down the track at some point the patient will develop all or many of the symptoms of Cushing's syndrome such as atrophy and striae distensae (stretch marks) which may be bought on by local or systemic (affecting the whole body) steroid therapy such as the topical use of steroid creams and the oral use of cortisone preparations like prednisone. There are also many cases of allergic reactions to these preparations, sometimes the reaction is against a constituent (other ingredient) of the preparation but mostly it is an allergic reaction to the steroid molecule itself.
Cortisone certainly has its place in modern medical practice. It is commonly used by athletes' doctors as a single dose anti-inflammatory for an injury sustained on the playing field. In m any cases the one-off or short term use of this drug is highly effective in that immediate situation. However, in any situation the good doctor uses as little cortisone as necessary.
Some of the above information has been sourced from the internet by doing searches using the search criteria ‘cortisone, corticosteroids, cushings syndrome'
There is an old saying "Forewarned is forearmed" Meaning that when you are prepared for something with either knowledge or know-how or both you are better equipped to be able to deal with problems that may be inevitable. Knowledge gives you the power to make educated choices and decisions and will assist you in sticking with those choices.
There is a lot of information available on the uses and side effects of cortisone treatments. If you want more information than what is here, go forth and arm yourself - use your search engine ie., Google or Yahoo, use the search criteria ‘cortisone, corticosteroids, or even cushings syndrome.' You could even do searches on the cortisone product that your doctor has prescribed you so as to equip yourself with all the information that the doctor may not have given you. Furnished with more information you may find that your choices for the long term good health of your skin may be different than what you expected.