What's New :
ITS 2025: Integrated Test Series & Mentorship Program for Prelims and Mains. Get Details
28th May 2021 (5 Topics)

Indiscriminate use of steroid

How Inflammation Occurs in the Body

Inflammation is a normal process that occurs in the body as a reaction to injury or infection. When tissues are inflamed due to bacterial infection, trauma, toxins, or any other cause, the immune system produces substances such as histamines, prostaglandins, and cytokines. These chemicals cause the blood vessels to dilate, which results in redness and warmth of the affected area. They also recruit white blood cells to the site to help combat infections and facilitate tissue healing. This leads to inflammation, pain, and at times loss of function of the part that is affected. Acute inflammation is beneficial to the body, but chronic inflammation is the cause of many diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, and cancer.

Role of Steroids During the Treatment of COVID-19

Steroids, specifically corticosteroids like dexamethasone, play a crucial role in the treatment of severe COVID-19. These drugs are anti-inflammatory agents that help reduce the body's immune response, which can become overactive during severe COVID-19 infections. The excessive immune response, often referred to as a "cytokine storm," can cause significant lung damage and other complications. By dampening this response, steroids help improve oxygenation, reduce the need for mechanical ventilation, and lower the risk of death in critically ill patients.

How Excessive Use of Steroids Hampers the Body

Although steroids are effective in managing severe COVID-19 cases, their administration has several side effects and complications. Prolonged steroid use can lead to:

  • Immune Suppression: Steroids can also have side effects such as thinning of the bones, and increased risk of infection due to the suppression of the immune system when steroids are used for a long time.
  • Osteoporosis: Steroids can also reduce bone mass and make bones more brittle and prone to fracture.
  • Hyperglycemia: Steroids can cause hyperglycemia, which results in diabetes or worsening of the existing condition.
  • Muscle Weakness: Steroid use in the long run can lead to muscle atrophy and reduced muscle strength.
  • Adrenal Insufficiency: The body can develop a reliance on external steroids and the body’s production of cortisol, which is essential for the stress response and metabolism, can be suppressed.
  • Weight Gain and Fluid Retention: Steroids can make one gain a lot of weight and lead to swelling because of water retention.
  • Psychological Effects: Steroids can also cause mood changes, and this can manifest in symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis in the worst-case scenario.

In conclusion, steroids are helpful in the treatment of severe COVID-19 by modulating the inflammation process, but their administration should be closely regulated due to potential adverse effects.

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now