Long-Term Use of Prednisone Can Cause Steroid Induced Diabetes

Prednisone is a corticosteroid, which means that it is used to treat certain conditions in the body that are caused by low steroid production. The areas requiring this medication include lupus, allergic reactions, arthritis, etc. But sometimes taking Prednisone for long periods of time can result in steroid-induced diabetes.

Prednisone works by actually counteracting the natural effects of insulin. When it is present, it causes the pancreas to over-produce insulin just to sustain normal blood sugar levels. The steroid doesn't seem to cause damage to the pancreas: it just puts a much higher demand on insulin production.

The severity of the reaction is intensified if the individual has a family history of type 2 diabetes or if they are taking large quantities of the medicine. If they have a personal history of high blood sugar, this will also cause the reaction to be magnified.

The symptoms of Prednisone-induced diabetes are the same as normal diabetes: frequent thirst, excessive urination and unexplained weight loss. The only difference between the two is the source of the diabetes.

There is good news for those diagnosed with steroid-induced diabetes. A large majority of cases will go away once the steroid use has been reduced or stopped entirely. The important thing to remember is that this should be a warning flag for the individual that their pancreas is sensitive. However, in a few cases, the pancreas might have become permanently altered in which case the individual will have diabetes for life.

Photo: Pexels

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