Doctors prescribe steroids for any number of health conditions—from asthma and multiple sclerosis to ear infections and plantar fasciitis. They’re supposed to work by reducing inflammation.
But I’ve always advised against using them—topically, orally, or by injection—as they can cause far more problems than they solve. And now, a new study just found that taking a commonly prescribed type of steroid increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD)—the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S.
Steroids, steroids, and more steroids
Doctors often prescribe glucocorticoid steroids (such as prednisone) to patients with serious autoimmune disorders—such as multiple sclerosis or lupus—to reduce inflammation and control flare-ups.
In fact, sometimes, patients will spend years cycling on and off these drugs, which disrupt your metabolism, immune system, and other physiologic processes.
Doctors also prescribe steroid shots for an “easy fix” to joint pain or overuse injuries, like plantar fasciitis. But these shots can cause far more harm than good, as they end up destroying cartilage—which is the cause of the pain in the first place. Plus, injections can also lead to nasty fungal infections…
In fact, as I reported a few years back, steroid injections caused a big outbreak of fungal infections in the brain and spinal cord. The treatments actually killed dozens and sickened hundreds of patients around the country.
And now, we have another serious side effect to worry about…
New study finds link between steroids and cardiovascular disease
For this new study, researchers looked at medical records for more than 87,000 adults who had received steroids for at least one of the following conditions:
- giant cell arteritis (inflammation of the interior lining of your arteries)
- polymyalgia rheumatica (an inflammatory disorder that causes muscle pain and stiffness)
- inflammatory bowel disease
- systemic lupus erythematosus
- rheumatoid arthritis
- vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels)
On average, the participants were 56 years of age. But none of them had a history of heart disease.
The researchers followed the participants over the next five years, on average. And during that time, 15 percent of the men and women experienced a CVD event, including:
- heart attack
- atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart beats)
- heart failure
At the one-year follow–up mark, the researchers concluded that the risk of suffering one of those events quadrupled in participants who took low-dose steroids compared to those who didn’t take them. And it increased nine-fold in patients who took higher doses over extended periods of time.
Specifically, at the one year mark, the risk of suffering a CVD event was:
- 1 percent during periods of no steroid use.
- 4 percent with a daily steroid dose up to 5 mg.
- 9 percent with a daily steroid dose of 25 mg or more.
Then, after five years, the risks continued to increase. Specifically, the risk of suffering a CVD event was:
- 7 percent with no steroid use.
- 20 percent with a daily dose of 5 mg.
- 28 percent with a daily dose of 25 mg or more.
One might think that taking a steroid drug could reduce some risk of heart disease by reducing chronic inflammation. But that’s not a safe or natural way to handle inflammation, and clearly, that’s what the science showed in this study.
The researchers concluded that people should take the minimal effective doses for the shortest period of time. And I quite agree. Or better yet, avoid them altogether!
Fortunately, you have many natural approaches to balancing and controlling inflammation—without using potentially dangerous and deadly steroid drugs…
Natural ways to tame inflammation
When it comes to reducing the chronic inflammation associated with joint pain, I always recommend my ABCs for joint pain: ashwagandha (winter cherry), boswellia (frankincense), and curcumin (turmeric).
I find they work best when taken together. So, I recommend looking for a formula that contains 400 mg of each ingredient. (I’ve even had happy people tell me personally that they cancelled their knee replacement surgery after just two months of taking my ABCs!)
Of course, there are many natural approaches for controlling chronic, systemic inflammation, in addition to supplementation—including simple dietary changes, reducing stress, and adopting exercise routines and other lifestyle interventions.
In fact, you can learn all about the remarkably fast and easy ways to fight this No. 1 cause of disease and aging in my innovative online learning tool, my Protocol for Eliminating Deadly Inflammation. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now!
Dose-dependent oral glucocorticoid cardiovascular risks in people with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases: A population-based cohort study.” PLOS Medicine, on-line, December 3, 2020. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003432