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

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
COVID Can Tear Through a Household: CDCU.S Coronavirus Cases Top 9 MIllionGrocery Workers at Greater Risk for COVID Without SymptomsWhat You Need to Know About the Search for a COVID VaccineNearly 1 in 5 COVID-19 Patients May Still Carry VirusTired, Anxious, Overweight: How Lockdowns May Have Harmed Your HealthEli Lilly Antibody Drug Could Prevent COVID Hospitalizations: StudyDeath Rates Are Dropping for New Yorkers With COVID-19 -- Why?Asymptomatic Kids With COVID-19 May Also Carry Less VirusYour Guide to Getting a COVID-19 TestFauci Calls for National Mask MandateSmog Could Increase COVID-19 Deaths by 15% WorldwidePatients With Worst COVID-19 May Be Best Plasma Donors: StudyWill Expelled Droplets Spread COVID? Ventilation May Be KeyPeople With Down Syndrome Face Higher Risk of Severe COVID-19Loss of Smell More Common in COVID-19 Than ThoughtPsoriasis Meds Don't Raise Risk of Severe COVID-19: StudyTrial of Antibody Drug for COVID-19 Stopped for Lack of EffectivenessKnee or Hip Replacements Cut People's Risk for Falls: StudyWhat Will It Take for People to Embrace a COVID Vaccine?Kidney Trouble Greatly Raises Odds for Fatal COVID-19More Evidence Masks Slow COVID's SpreadDangerous COVID-19 Syndrome First Seen in Kids Also Strikes AdultsFading Sense of Smell Could Signal Higher Death Risk in Older AdultsHospitals Straining Under Weight of Surging COVID Case CountsU.S. Daily COVID-19 Case Count Sets New Record for the PandemicAn Unexpected Finding on What Might Drive Joint DiseaseCoronavirus in a Cough: Tests Show Masks Stopping the SpreadU.S. Daily COVID Case Count Nears Record for PandemicCould Common Asthma Meds Weaken Bones?Mask Use by Americans Now Tops 90%, Poll FindsCOVID-19 More Common in Pregnant Hispanics Than Other Moms-to-Be: StudyMore Than Half of Americans Know Someone Infected or Ill With COVID: PollCDC Broadens Definition of 'Close Contact' in Tracing COVID InfectionsAHA News: The Mummies' Message: Take Steps Against Heart DiseasePancreas Cells That Drive Type 1 Diabetes Appear in Healthy People, TooOne Big Reason Women May Be Less Prone to COVID-19New Wave of COVID Infections Taking Hold in AmericaSmog Tied to Raised Risk for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's DiseaseWhat Will Convince Americans to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?Curbing COVID Brought Unexpected Benefit for Asthma Patients1 in 3 Americans With Arthritis Say Pain, Symptoms PersistCDC Recommends Face Masks in All Public Transportation SettingsIn Medieval Times, Plagues 'Sped Up' With Each New OutbreakWhat You Need to Know About Your Colon Cancer RiskNewer Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug May Help Ease Tough-to-Treat CasesCelebrate Autumn Traditions Without Raising Your COVID RiskNew Drug Could Extend Life for People With ALSHeart Defects Don't Increase Risk of Severe COVID-19Chinese COVID Vaccine Shows Promise in Early Trial
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Diabetes

Kids Who Need Steroids Face Risk of Diabetes, Other Ills

HealthDay News
by By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Sep 24th 2020

new article illustration

THURSDAY, Sept. 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Children who need to take oral steroids for chronic or life-threatening conditions can experience serious side effects, according to new research.

Children with autoimmune disorders such as juvenile arthritis, psoriasis or inflammatory bowel disease are often prescribed a steroid to keep the illness under control.

But the odds that a child might develop diabetes was nearly six times higher in children taking steroids than in those who don't. The odds of high blood pressure was 19 times higher in those on steroids, and the likelihood of a blood clot was 16 times higher, the study found.

The good news, however, is that these complications are all exceedingly rare.

"These complications are serious but rare. They affect a very tiny proportion of children with steroids," said study author Dr. Daniel Horton, an assistant professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the Rutgers Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Science in New Brunswick, N.J.

Horton pointed out that doctors are aware of the many side effects related to steroids, but they also know how much good the drugs can do in certain situations, such as asthma or autoimmune conditions.

"When I prescribe this medication, the benefits must outweigh the risks or I wouldn't prescribe it. This study shows the kinds of complications that doctors need to look out for, particularly if a child receives high doses of an oral steroid like prednisone," Horton said.

The study included more than 930,000 U.S. children up to age 18. Some had autoimmune diseases and some didn't. Many of the youngsters (about two-thirds) with autoimmune diseases who were also given steroids showed evidence of asthma, too.

The researchers didn't look for all types of complications linked to steroids. They searched for diabetes, high blood pressure and blood clots. High blood pressure was the complication that occurred most in children taking steroids.

All three complications were more common in children with autoimmune diseases, whether or not they were taking steroids.

Horton said this study wasn't designed to prove a direct cause-and-effect link. It only found an association. But, he added, "The results were fairly robust in a large population, which suggests a real effect of these medications."

The effect of steroids in the body is complex, Horton said. Some ways they act in the body are disrupting metabolic activity and increasing direct hormonal effects on the heart and blood vessels. Steroids are also known to cause weight gain.

Dr. Robert Pass is division chief for pediatric cardiology at Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital in New York City. He was not part of the research, but reviewed the findings.

"This study reinforces the known idea that steroids can cause or enhance the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and blood clots. But, for most children taking oral steroids, there are not many alternatives," Pass said.

"In children with very bad asthma, use of oral steroids is a mainstay. You don't want to miss out on the benefits of oral steroids when needed. If used properly, steroids can be administered safely," he said.

Pass said the study points to the ongoing need for alternative therapies. But he added that parents don't need to be frightened if their child needs a steroid. He suggested speaking with the child's physician about the decision to put the child on a steroid.

And, both doctors said, whenever possible, steroid-sparing medications are chosen. Nutrition counseling may help avoid some of the weight gain that can occur with steroids, Horton said.

The study was published recently in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

More information

Learn more about prednisone, a commonly prescribed oral steroid, from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.