Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


6 tips for losing weight after steroid use

Steroids are not merely the stuff of athletic star scandals. Physicians routinely prescribe steroids for multiple sclerosis exacerbations and many other conditions. Additional medical applications for steroids include Addison’s Disease, allergies, arthritis, asthma, autoimmune disorders, Bell’s Palsy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Crohn’s Disease, dermatitis, Epstein-Barr virus, lupus, Lyme disease, organ transplants, pancreatitis, sarcoidosis, certain skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, vasculitis and more.

Of course, anabolic steroids (which enhance the male hormone, testosterone) are a different sort of medication than the more commonly prescribed corticosteroids. Cortisone, prednisone and similar steroidal medications are of the corticosteroid variety.

Corticosteroids (like cortisone and prednisone) may be administered by inhalation (as an inhaler, mist or spray), by injection (as an intravenous, intramuscular, or subcutaneous dose), orally (as capsules, pills, or liquid medicines) or topically (as creams, ear drops, eye drops, ointments, or lotions).

For many steroid medication recipients, corticosteroid usage (particularly long-term usage) can lead to considerable weight gain.

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NOTE: Written by this author, this copyrighted material originally appeared on another publisher’s site. That site no longer exists. This author (LAN/Kicking MS to the Curb) holds all rights to this content. No republication is allowed without permission.

Weight gain is a common side effect of corticosteroids.

Because corticosteroids can cause increased appetite, decreased metabolism and even a redistribution of body fat, many corticosteroid users become frustrated and disheartened by this long-term side effect.

Body weight gained during lengthy periods of corticosteroid use can be difficult to shed. How can steroid users lose those pesky pounds? Here are six practical pointers for slimming down after corticosteroid medication use.

1. Set down the salt shaker.

Water retention is a well-known side effect of corticosteroid medications (such as prednisone). By sharply decreasing salt consumption, individuals who are taking (or have taken) corticosteroids can lose considerable water weight fairly quickly, eliminating the bloat.

2. Guzzle gallons of water.

Let’s face it. Nearly no one drinks enough water each day, and corticosteroid users are no exception. Increased water intake can help to cleanse the body from toxins, spent medications (such as corticosteroids), and even sodium that has built up.

3. Be diligent about diet.

A healthy diet is important for anyone, but this is particularly crucial for a patient using prescribed corticosteroids (like prednisone). Corticosteroids often cause increased appetite, so users need to scale back on snacking, particularly carbohydrates and fats.

4. Pick up the pace.

Corticosteroids (such as prednisone) generally slow metabolism in users, so regular exercise is essential for restoring this balance. Rigorous physical activity (such as biking, hiking, jogging, skating, exercise walking, or playing sports) helps to prevent corticosteroid weight gain and take off those excess pounds that may have been added while undergoing steroidal treatments. The key is to pursue whatever workouts work for the individual, without overdoing it and setting off another medical incident.

5. Maintain muscle mass.

Many individuals taking corticosteroids for various medical reasons discover, to their dismay, that their hard-earned muscular physiques seem to lose form. Calisthenics, fitness training, and weight lifting can help to retain and restore muscle mass – both during and after use of such corticosteroids as prednisone and similar steroidal medications. In particular, many corticosteroid users focus heavily on abdominal muscles, as the midsection seems to be the main focus of fat redistribution for many individuals taking steroidal medications.

Exercising and weight training may be extra challenging for those living with multiple sclerosis or other potentially disabling medical conditions. Problems with balance, endurance, flexibility, and other issues may come into play. Professional physical therapy or individually adapted fitness training often prove helpful. In some cases, such regimens may be covered by health insurance plans, if initiated by medical prescriptions.

6. Give yourself a break while taking steroids.

Anxiety, irritability, mood swings and stress may accompany corticosteroid regimens – as well as the medical conditions warranting the use of these steroidal medications. Many medical experts recommend that their patients refrain from exercising personal perfectionism during treatment, focusing on healing and recuperation.

Once steroidal treatment has been completed, these individuals may hope to zoom in on weight loss and personal fitness again.

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