Cortisone is a steroidal compound that can be compared to corticosterone. It is a compound that derives from cortisol, a type of glucocorticoid substance (it is a family of hormones produced in the adrenal glands that participate in multiple regulatory processes of the body).
Normally an individual’s cortisol levels increase when he is under a relatively long stress situation. Cortisone also participates in the metabolism of fatty acids, carbohydrates, and even proteins. Likewise, it participates in the regulation of the liquids and electrolytes of our organism in order to conserve homeostasis.
As a general rule, it is produced by our organism following the indications of the endocrine system, which controls all functional hormones. Thus, it is naturally synthesized in the cortex of the adrenal glands.
On the other hand, specialists have been able to imitate and artificially manufacture this chemical compound. The corresponding medications or drugs that provide this substance to patients have also been developed. Likewise, they can be applied cutaneously, intravenously and even intraarterially.
What is cortisone used for?
Currently, drugs that are able to increase cortisone levels in subjects are used in the treatment of various clinical disorders. For example, among the most common disorders we can highlight:
- Inflammation or swelling of a certain part of the body. Its mechanism of action includes a generalized anti-inflammatory response.
- Diseases of an autoimmune nature.
- Respiratory disorders, including asthma and other chronic disorders.
- Allergic reactions to a certain factor. It is also used to treat chronic allergic reactions. For example, it is the case of Quincke’s edema. At other times the medical team uses drugs with this hormone as a way to prevent these complications.
- Pathologies that affect the digestive system such as Crohn’s disease.
- Problems related to the characteristics of the eyes.
- Transplants (which can be a lot of body structures). Thus, the immune system of the patient subjected to the operation is weakened. Although it may seem a disadvantage, in this way the chances of a rejection of the new received tissue are considerably reduced.
- Some kinds of cancer Lymphomas or leukemia are usually treated but we can find cortisone in the treatment of other types of tumors. Likewise, it can be administered to solve the lack of appetite (lack of appetite), nausea and vomiting in patients with these disorders.
- Diseases of the skin
- Joint pains These discomforts can appear in a large number of disorders such as arthritis, tennis elbow or bursitis.
How does cortisone work?
On the other hand, cortisone is able to reduce the activity of the immune system, which is responsible for the defense of our body against foreign agents. In this way, an immunosuppressive response is generated in the patient.
Therefore, during situations of prolonged stress, we are more likely to get infections of all kinds. When the immune system is inhibited, the microorganisms that would normally be eliminated by the body’s defense mechanisms proliferate and colonize the tissues.
This explains why the prolonged use of corticosteroids or people with immunodeficiency presents greater ease to suffer infections produced by atypical germs. The duration of the infection is longer than in an immunocompetent person (that is, with the immune system functioning correctly) and there is a risk of re-infection after treatment.
What are the side effects of cortisone?
However, when using this medication, patients may suffer the risk of new unexpected alterations. Normally the subjects usually do not develop any alteration if the treatment lasts less than ten days. On the other hand, if the use of this type of medication exceeds that time it is possible that the person present:
- Retention of fluid that can cause swelling or swelling of the ankles and feet. It can also favor the formation of edema in the body.
- Abnormal irritability
- Nausea and vomiting.
- A headache that may occur with occasional dizziness and even fainting.
- Complications related to osteoporosis, especially in elderly people. During this disease, the bones are weaker and fracture more frequently.
- Formation of stomach ulcers and burning sensation in this organ.
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping.
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