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Miami's independent source of local news and culture. Athletes and bodybuilders have been using steroids to increase muscle mass for a long time. Many men, particularly those who participate in sports or who are interested in bodybuilding, use steroids to achieve quick results. Many steroids are sold illegally and come with a slew of negative side effects. So, what are some other safe and legitimate alternatives to steroid abuse? Are you trying to bulk up or lose weight with a legal steroid? Researchers have recently created safe, and legal steroids that can be used daily with no negative side effects.

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They were divided into two groups. Group I Control group 10 was subdivided into negative control, subgroup 1a 5 , and subgroup 1b 5 , which received 0. The heart specimens were prepared for light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Echocardiographic results showed that bodybuilders who use steroids have smaller left ventricular dimension with thicker walls, impaired diastolic function, as well as higher peak systolic strain rate in steroid-using bodybuilders as compared to the other two groups.

Light microscopy examination of cardiac muscle fibers showed focal areas of degeneration with loss of striations and vacuolation in the experimental group. Ultrastructural examination showed disturbance of the banding pattern of the cardiac muscle fiber with disintegration, loss of striations, dehiscent intercalated disc, and interrupted Z-bands. Administration of supraphysiological doses of AAS caused severe deleterious effects in the myocardium both in athletes and in experimental animals.

Your doctor will probably want to reduce your dose gradually over several weeks to prevent these side effects. Do not stop taking prednisolone without talking to your doctor - you will need to reduce the dose gradually. Taking prednisolone for many months or years can have several harmful effects on your body. It can lead to:. If you have to take prednisolone for a long time, there are steps you can take to stay as healthy as possible:.

Taking prednisolone makes you more likely to catch infections such as flu , the common cold and chest infections. Keep away from people with an infectious disease, especially chickenpox or shingles. If you have never had these illnesses they could make you very ill. Tell your doctor straight away if you come into contact with someone who has an infectious disease such as chickenpox or shingles. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a medicine to protect you.

Taking prednisolone lowers your immune system. If you have a "live" vaccine, like the shingles vaccine, while you are taking prednisolone your immune system might not be able to handle it. This may lead to an infection. Inactive vaccinations, like the flu vaccine, are safe. If you are taking prednisolone for longer than 3 weeks, or you have been prescribed a high dose of more than 40mg daily, your doctor or pharmacist will give you a blue steroid treatment card.

The card is the size of a credit card and fits in your wallet or purse. It tells you how you can reduce the risks of side effects. It also gives details of your doctor, how much prednisolone you take and how long the treatment will last for.

If you need any medical or dental treatment, show your blue steroid card to the doctor or dentist so they know that you are taking prednisolone. For most health problems, these steroids are very similar to prednisolone in terms of how well they work and how safe they are. There's no firm evidence to suggest that taking prednisolone will reduce fertility in either men or women. However, speak to a pharmacist or your doctor before taking it if you're trying to get pregnant. Prednisolone will not affect the contraceptive pill or emergency contraception.

It's thought that real liquorice increases the amount of prednisolone in the body and also increases the risk of low potassium. Page last reviewed: 22 January Next review due: 22 January Prednisolone On this page About prednisolone Key facts Who can and can't take prednisolone How and when to take it Side effects How to cope with side effects Pregnancy and breastfeeding Cautions with other medicines Common questions.

About prednisolone Prednisolone is a type of medicine known as a corticosteroid or steroid. NHS coronavirus advice As long as you have no symptoms of coronavirus infection, carry on taking your prescribed steroid medicine as usual. Updated: 20 March Take prednisolone once a day in the morning so it doesn't keep you awake.

The most common side effects of prednisolone are insomnia, weight gain, indigestion and sweating a lot. Taking prednisolone can make you more likely to get infections. Tell your doctor if you're exposed to infectious illnesses like chickenpox or shingles. If you take prednisolone for more than 3 weeks, or you're on a high dose, you'll get a blue steroid card.

Show this card to your doctor or dentist before any treatment, so they know you're taking prednisolone. Prednisolone can cause extra side effects if you stop taking it suddenly. Do not stop taking prednisolone if you've been on it for more than 3 weeks or have taken high doses more than 40mg for more than 1 week. It's also called by the brand names Deltacortril, Deltastab, Dilacort and Pevanti. Prednisolone can be taken by adults and children.

Prednisolone isn't suitable for some people. Tell your doctor before starting the medicine if you: have had an allergic reaction to prednisolone or any other medicine have an infection including eye infections are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or you are breastfeeding have recently been in contact with someone with shingles , chickenpox or measles have recently had, or are about to have, any vaccinations Make sure your doctor is aware if you have: had liver problems had mental health problems either you or close family members any unhealed wounds heart failure or have had a recent heart attack high blood pressure diabetes epilepsy glaucoma underactive thyroid osteoporosis thinning bones a stomach ulcer.

It's important to take prednisolone as your doctor has advised. Sometimes, you may be advised to take prednisolone on alternate days only. How much will I take? Will my dose go up or down? Your dose may go up or down. Once your illness starts to get better, it's likely that your dose will go down. Your dose may go up if your illness gets worse. What if I forget to take it? Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten one. What if I take too much? Taking too many prednisolone tablets by accident is unlikely to harm you.

If you're worried, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Common side effects Common side effects happen in more than 1 in people. Keep taking the medicine, but tell your doctor if they bother you or don't go away: weight gain indigestion sleep problems restlessness sweating a lot Serious side effects You are more likely to have a serious side effect if you take a higher dose more than 20mg daily of prednisolone or if you have been taking it for more than a few weeks.

Information: You can report any suspected side effect to the UK safety scheme. Stunted growth in children Long periods of prednisolone treatment can slow down the normal growth of children and teenagers. Talk to your doctor about the risks of giving prednisolone to your child if you are concerned. What to do about: weight gain - try to eat well without increasing your portion sizes so you don't gain too much weight.

It may also help if you avoid rich or spicy food while you're taking this medicine. If symptoms carry on, ask your doctor if you may benefit from taking an additional medicine to protect your stomach. If this doesn't help, talk to your doctor as you may be able to try a different medicine.

If you take prednisolone in pregnancy, the baby's growth will be checked often. Prednisolone and breastfeeding You can usually take prednisolone while you're breastfeeding. Non-urgent advice: Tell your doctor if you're:. Mixing prednisolone with herbal remedies or supplements There's very little information about taking herbal remedies and supplements with prednisolone.

Important For safety, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you take any other medicines, including herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements. How does prednisolone work? When will I feel better? This can vary. For some illnesses, you will feel better after a couple of days. Ask your doctor what to expect for your illness. How long will I take prednisolone for? This depends on your health problem.

You may only need a short course of prednisolone for up to a week. You may need to take it for longer - even for many years or the rest of your life. Will I put on weight? How do I come off prednisolone and will I get withdrawal symptoms? Your health condition may flare up again.

You may also get extra side effects including: severe tiredness weakness body aches joint pain These side effects are most likely to happen if you have taken prednisolone for more than a few weeks or you take more than 40mg daily. Important Do not stop taking prednisolone without talking to your doctor - you will need to reduce the dose gradually. Can I take prednisolone for a long time? It can lead to: thinner bones osteoporosis poorly controlled diabetes eyesight problems slower growth in children and teenagers If you have to take prednisolone for a long time, there are steps you can take to stay as healthy as possible: Take regular exercise and make sure you get enough calcium in your diet to help strengthen your bones.

Calcium-rich foods include milk, cheese and leafy greens. To check your bones, your doctor may arrange for you to have an occasional bone scan. If you have diabetes , you may need to check your blood glucose more often.

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Group I Control group 10 was subdivided into negative control, subgroup 1a 5 , and subgroup 1b 5 , which received 0. The heart specimens were prepared for light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Echocardiographic results showed that bodybuilders who use steroids have smaller left ventricular dimension with thicker walls, impaired diastolic function, as well as higher peak systolic strain rate in steroid-using bodybuilders as compared to the other two groups.

Light microscopy examination of cardiac muscle fibers showed focal areas of degeneration with loss of striations and vacuolation in the experimental group. Ultrastructural examination showed disturbance of the banding pattern of the cardiac muscle fiber with disintegration, loss of striations, dehiscent intercalated disc, and interrupted Z-bands. Administration of supraphysiological doses of AAS caused severe deleterious effects in the myocardium both in athletes and in experimental animals.

The SRI shows promise in the early detection of systolic dysfunction in those athletes who use steroids. They are also used to treat the effects of some cancers. In addition they can be prescribed as replacement treatment for people whose own natural steroids are lacking for example, in Addison's disease, congenital adrenal hyperplasia and hypopituitarism.

This will vary with individual steroids and with the condition for which they are prescribed. For short courses, usually a relatively high dose is prescribed each day, for a few days or a week or so, and then stopped abruptly at the end of the course. If taken for more than three weeks, the dose will need to be tailed off gradually.

For those who have to take steroids for a longer time, a common treatment plan is to start with a high dose to control symptoms. Often the dose is then slowly reduced to a lower daily dose that keeps symptoms away. The length of treatment can vary, depending on the disease. Sometimes the steroid treatment is gradually stopped if the condition improves. However, steroids are needed for life for some conditions, as symptoms return if the steroids are stopped.

Your pharmacist will give you exact instructions. It will depend on which steroid you take, and what it is for. Mostly steroids are taken first thing in the morning, with food. A short course of steroids usually causes no side-effects. For example, a 1- to 2-week course is often prescribed to ease a severe attack of asthma. This is usually taken without any problems. Side-effects are more likely to occur if you take a long course of steroids more than months , or if you take short courses repeatedly.

The higher the dose, the greater the risk of side-effects. This is why the lowest possible dose which controls symptoms is aimed for if you need steroids long-term. Some diseases need a higher dose than others to control symptoms. Even for the same disease, the dose needed often varies from person to person. For many diseases, the benefits of taking steroids usually outweigh the side-effects.

However, side-effects can sometimes be troublesome. You should read the information leaflet that comes with your medicine packet for a full list of possible side-effects. The main possible side-effects include the following:. The above are only the main possible side-effects which may affect some people who take steroids.

There is often a balance between the risk of side-effects against the symptoms and damage that may result from some diseases if they are not treated. Some of the less common side-effects are not listed above but will be included on the leaflet that comes with your medicine. There are very few people who cannot take oral corticosteroids. Only people who have serious infections and are not taking treatment for the infection should not take oral steroids.

This is because steroids suppress your immune system, making you less likely to fight off the infection. If you have taken a short course of weeks of an oral steroid, you can simply stop taking the tablets at the end of the course. Do not stop taking oral steroids suddenly if you have been taking them for more than three weeks. It probably does no harm to forget the odd dose.

However, you may have serious withdrawal effects once your body is used to the steroids. These may develop within a few days if you stop oral steroids suddenly. Any change in dose should be supervised by a doctor. Any reductions in dose are done slowly, over a number of weeks. Your body normally makes steroid chemicals by itself which are necessary to be healthy. When you take oral steroids for a few weeks or more, your body may reduce or stop making its own steroid chemicals.

If you then stop taking oral steroids suddenly, your body does not have any steroids. This can cause various withdrawal symptoms until your body resumes making natural steroids over a few weeks. The withdrawal symptoms can be serious, even life-threatening and include:.

If the dose is reduced gradually, the body gradually resumes its natural production of steroids and the withdrawal symptoms do not occur. Potentially, many other medicines can 'interact' with steroids. This means the steroid could affect how they work, either resulting in the other medicine being ineffective, or having more side-effects than usual. Or they can interact the other way around, with the other medicine affecting the corticosteroid. Doses may have to be adjusted accordingly in order for both medicines to be taken together.

As long as your doctor knows you are taking this, they can advise accordingly. Usually you can take both medicines, but you may need to be monitored for the effects. For example, you may need blood tests to check the combination is not causing any problems. Doses can then be adjusted as necessary. Your doctor will help you weigh up the pros and cons but, generally speaking, steroids can usually be used safely in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

The lowest dose possible for the shortest possible amount of time would be used. If you think you have had a side-effect to one of your medicines you can report this on the Yellow Card Scheme.