When cortisone can cause a life-threatening illness

March 12, 2013
Volume 10    |   Issue 11

If you have asthma or an autoimmune disease, your doctor may prescribe the synthetic hormone cortisone to treat your condition. Before you take this drug, though, you need to know that it significantly increases your risk of getting a potentially life-threatening condition.

A new study out of Sweden shows that cortisone increases your risk of acute pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis is a sudden pronounced inflammation of the pancreas. Most of the time, the inflammation goes away without causing any serious complications. However, the disease develops into a life-threatening condition in 15-20% of patients.

In the study, the researchers looked at 6,000 patients with acute pancreatitis and compared them to 61,000 healthy controls. They found that those people treated with cortisone in tablet form were 70% more likely to develop the condition. And it took only three days of taking the medication for the condition to develop. That shows a clear connection between the medication and the inflamed pancreas.

The good news for asthma sufferers is that the researchers didn't see any increased risk in those using aerosol cortisone, like that in asthma inhalers.

If you do have to take cortisone, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing the painful condition. First, make sure you don't have any gallstones. These can increase your risk as well. You'll also want to make sure you refrain from smoking and drinking, as they increase your risk too.

But that's not all you can do. It's possible stress could significantly increase your risk. Cortisone is the synthetic version of the hormone cortisol. As you may know, cortisol is the stress hormone. Your body releases it when you're under stress. Since cortisol is similar to cortisone, taking cortisone while you're under stress could give you an overdose of the hormone. A study out of Japan in 1990 found that stress will increase your risk of pancreatitis.

So it's vital you take steps to balance your adrenal gland. This is the gland that produces cortisol. One of the best ways to balance your adrenal gland and cortisol production is with the nutrients in Advanced Adrenal Factor. My friend Frank Shallenberger, MD developed this product to treat his overly stressed patients. And they swear by it.

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Yamaguchi H, Kimura T, Nawata H. "Does stress play a role in the development of severe pancreatitis in rats?" Third Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.

Omid Sadr-Azodi, Fredrik Mattsson, Tomas Sjöberg Bexelius, Mats Lindblad, Jesper Lagergren & Rickard Ljung. Association of Oral Glucocorticoid Use With an Increased Risk of Acute Pancreatitis, A Population-Based Nested Case-Control Study Glucocorticoid Use and Risk of Acute Pancreatitis. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2013; : 1 DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2737.

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