24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
Fax: (361)578-5500

Medical Disorders
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Multiple Surgeries for Cleft Lip, Palate Won't Cause Major Psychological DamageHIV May Not Worsen COVID-19 OutlookU.S. Coronavirus Hospitalizations Spiking in South, WestAHA News: To Everything There Is a Season, Including Heart DiseaseAsthma, Allergies Plus Pandemic May Pose 4th of July ChallengesStroke Appears 8 Times More Likely With COVID Than With FluCOVID-19 Death Risk Twice as High in New York City as Some CountriesFireworks Are Bad News for Your LungsScientists Find Source of COVID ClotsNew U.S. Coronavirus Cases Top 50,000 as More States Slow Reopening PlansNumbers of Non-COVID-19 Deaths Up During PandemicNo Good Evidence on Accuracy of Coronavirus Antibody Tests: StudyAHA News: COVID-19 Pandemic Brings New Concerns About Excessive DrinkingMuscle Relaxants for Back Pain Are Soaring: Are They Safe?Trauma of Racism Fuels High Blood Pressure Among Black Americans: StudyCOVID-19 Blood Test Might Predict Who Will Need a VentilatorWhat's the Best DIY Face Mask Against COVID-19?Deep Brain Stimulation May Slow Parkinson's, Study FindsU.S. Could See 100,000 New Cases of COVID-19 Each Day, Fauci SaysGlobally, COVID-19 Cases May Stretch Far Beyond Official Numbers: StudyFBI: Beware of Scammers Selling Fake COVID-19 Antibody TestsAHA News: Sadness and Isolation of Pandemic Can Make Coping With Grief HarderVaping-Related Lung Injuries Still Happening -- And May Look Like COVID-19Most With Coronavirus Not Sure How They Caught It: CDCDon't Get Sick While Swimming This SummerAmid Pandemic, Too Many Americans Are Hesitating to Call 911Mask Up! Don't Let Down Your Guard Against COVID-19Wildfire Smoke Causes Rapid Damage to Your Health: StudyCOVID Drug Remdesivir Could Cost Up to $3,120 Per Patient, Maker SaysIntestinal Illness Spurs Recall of Bagged Salads Sold at Walmart, AldiCOVID Threatens the 3 out of 4 Americans Who Can't Work From HomeHispanic Americans Being Hit Hard By COVID-19Global Coronavirus Cases Pass 10 Million as U.S. Struggles With Surge in InfectionsStarted Early, Drug Combo Eases Fatigue of Rheumatoid Arthritis: StudyIs 'Pooled' Coronavirus Testing the Next Step for America?U.S. Coronavirus Task Force Warns of Rising Case Numbers, Especially Among YoungWho's at Highest Risk From COVID-19? CDC Updates Its ListStroke, Confusion: COVID-19 Often Impacts the Brain, Study ShowsPromising Results Mean Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Could Start by AugustWhen Can Sports Fans Safely Fill Stadiums Again?Coronavirus Baby Boom? Survey Says Maybe NotCOVID-19 Typically Mild for Babies: StudyU.S. Reports Record Rise in New Coronavirus CasesAHA News: COVID-19 Highlights Long-Term Inequities in Some CommunitiesHow the Saharan Dust Plume Could Make Your Allergies WorseAmid Pandemic, Fears That Older Americans Are Feeling 'Expendable''The Lockdowns Worked,' Experts Say, But Did America Reopen Too Soon?Asymptomatic Coronavirus Carriers Can Shed Virus on Surfaces: StudyVaccine Might Guard Against Bacteria That Cause Diarrhea in KidsOne-Time Treatment Eases Parkinson's -- in Mice
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics


Taking Steroids for Rheumatoid Arthritis, IBD? Your Odds for Hypertension May Rise

HealthDay News
by By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Mar 23rd 2020

new article illustration

MONDAY, March 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- People taking steroids to treat chronic inflammatory diseases are at high risk for developing high blood pressure, British investigators report.

Inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis are often treated with steroids for an extended period, at high doses, and as many as a third of patients in the study became hypertensive, the scientists said.

"Steroids are very good at tamping down inflammation and save many lives, but they can also cause harm," said researcher Dr. Paul Stewart, executive dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Leeds.

Patients, however, are often kept on steroids for too long at doses higher than they need, he said.

"One of the major side effects is high blood pressure, which is a major health hazard," Stewart said. "It's a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and premature death."

"This is a wake-up call for doctors to be more vigilant in measuring blood pressure and using a minimum effective dose for the shortest period of time," he said.

Patients taking steroids for a long time should ask their doctor if they still need steroids and if their dose is the lowest dose possible, Stewart said.

He also said that treating high blood pressure can lower the risk caused by the steroids, especially in patients who need to keep taking them.

For the study, Stewart and his university team collected data on more than 71,000 patients from general practices in England between 1998 and 2017.

Inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis were the most common conditions being treated with steroids. Other conditions included vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) and lupus, the researchers noted.

Among these patients, 35% developed high blood pressure. The longer patients took steroids, the greater the odds of hypertension.

Researchers were not able to pinpoint who makes up this third of patients. So whether obesity or other risk factors for high blood pressure were at play isn't known. Stewart doesn't think, however, that these risk factors are relevant to the effect of steroids. But the study only found associations, not a cause-and-effect link.

The report was published March 23 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

One U.S. heart expert not involved with the study outlined how dangerous high blood pressure can be.

"Hypertension is known as the silent killer. It is often not seen as a symptom by patients until it leads to heart attacks and strokes," said Dr. Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Numerous studies support that blood pressure control is a major player in heart disease."

Chronic steroid use increases the body's stress response and causes a spike in blood pressure, he explained.

This spike can lead to hypertension, increasing the risk for heart disease, Bhusri added.

"It is important that all patients on chronic steroids be screened for hypertension and their risk profile for heart disease," he said.

More information

For more on high blood pressure, see the American Heart Association.