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Corticosteroids are hormones used in medicine in anti-inflammatory, immunosuppresant and replacement therapy. As they stop inflammation they are used for the treatment of asthma, allergic rhinitis and urticaria whether in the form of a turbohaler or topical treatment. Their immunosurpressant qualities make them suitable for use in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and to stop rejection of donated organs. As corticosteroids are similar to natural hormones they can be used to replace them in the regulation of the body's metabolism.

Hormones are powerful chemicals regulating bodily processes from bone strength to body weight, and corticosteroids can therefore have significant side effects the range and severity of which depends on the type and length of used corticosteroids. When they are used in only one part of the body such as the lung or a muscle then their side effects are limited only to that part, but with the corticosteroids which are injected into the blood stream or taken orally, the effects can be felt all over the body. The ling term hormonal treatments can lead to hormonal changes in the body and many different side effects.

Inhaled corticosteroids can be used for a short or long time to treat acute or chronic lung disorders. An oral fungal infection called thrush can be caused by long term used but can also be prevented by rinsing the mouth out with water after using the turbohaler. Intravenous corticosteroids can cause more sude effects including: stomach irritation, tachycardia, nausea or vomiting, a metallic taste in the mouth and often mood swings. The side effects of taking corticosteroids orally for a short term are an increase in appetite, weight gain, insomnia, fluid retention and mod swings while the side effects of long term usage are: osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes, weight gain, increased vulnerability to infection, cataracts and glaucoma, thinning of the skin, bruises and muscle weakness. This medication should not be stopped suddenly even if the side effects pose a big problem, because the body will adapt its own steroid production when receiving steroids from outside. In the case that you stop using corticosteroids suddenly, the body will lack those steroids and will suffer these side effects fatigue, weight loss, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. What you should do if you decide on stop taking corticosteroids is cut down on the doses and gradually decrease them so that the body can have time to replace them with natural hormones.

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