I predict that the next wave of "oops, we swung the pendulum too far" will be regarding the use of corticosteroids. We have overdone it on opioids and are in crisis. We overused our antibiotics and now are in crisis mode. You would think we would learn.
Our culture demands instant gratification -- we want answers, treatment, cures...and we want it now. Oh, and we want it cheap and at our convenience.
Part of my job in preparing patients for surgery is to reconcile medications. In my work as a wellness coach, frequently health goals that come up involve "I would like not to be taking so much medicine." On social media, I don't think a day goes by that I don't see somoen posting about how many rounds of steroids they have endured in effort to combat their discomfort. (If it's not working, why do we just keep trying?)
Corticosteroids are prescribed by physicians for infectious diseases including the common cold, viral respiratory infections, pneumonia / bronchitis. This will work to suppress the symptoms, create a false sense of feeling 'high on life' while sick, and possible contribute to high marks on a patient satisfaction survey.
Short term benefit at long term expense to health.
For decades we have avoided these immunosupressive medications that rob you of your health behind a symptom-free facade (false front). But since we have created a crisis surrounding antibiotics and opiods, and patients demand for something to help them feel better, we have resorted to quick fixes.
Corticosteroids include oral meds like prednisone, methylprednisolone/Medrol dose pack, and Dexamethasone/Decadron. Topical forms range form the lowest strength being hydrocortisone, and six classes of stronger ones above this that will make your skin thin incredibly and the underlying cause and condition worsen and rebound once the med is stopped.
These steroids suppress immunity and the ability for tissues to heal and maintain their integrity and strength. Blood supply decreases to exposed tissues and small blood vessels break easily (capillary fragility). The supposed benefit is a decrease in inflammation but inflammation is linked to the repair and healing process. Another use is to reduce allergic reactions. This is potentially life saving in life-threatening allergic reactions like anaphylaxis or severe asthma. So, they are not all bad. When you need them, you want them! Used over a long period of time though, while symptoms are managed, the underlying cause may be compromised greatly.
When a doctor suppresses an inflammatory / 'autoimmune' disease like asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, arthritis or skin rashes with immune suppressing drugs like corticosteroids, THE UNDERLYING DISEASE IS going to get worse.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is catabolic meaning it breaks the body down and weakens tissues, breaks down protein and muscle. It helps your body get through stressful times but at a price. Anabolic hormones are testosterone, DHEA, and growth hormone which increase protein synthesis and healing and regeneration. They strengthen you and increase lifespan. This is why we must rest and eat well and exercise not in excess so that we have good anabolic hormones and less catabolic hormones.
The side effects of corticosteroids are too many to list all here but here are some that come to mind. Corticosteroids, especially oral or IV cause susceptibility to infections, cancer/ tumor growth, diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, skin thinning, muscle wasting, bone loss/osteoporosis, increase fat especially in the belly, obesity, psychosis, insomnia, mood disorders, rebound worsening of the underlying condition, impaired wound healing, and death of the head of major bones such as the ball (head) of the femur. This condition is called AVN (avascular necrosis of the head of long bones; necrosis means death; avascular means no blood supply). AVN is frequently silent and the hip or shoulder just suddenly crush and fail. I know a patient who has MS who took prednisone and other oral corticosteroids and ended up having both hips and a shoulder replaced. All it takes is one seemingly harmless injection of a corticosteroid for poison ivy to cause problems later on - The more exposure to them, the higher the risk.
Another huge negative effect is that corticosteroids cause suppression of the pituitary's production of ACTH, a hormone that stimulates your adrenal gland to be healthy. This causes adrenal deficiency following the steroid use.
Common uses of corticosteroids are:
ORALLY: Inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, allergic reactions, skin rashes, asthma, chronic lung diseases, auto-immune conditions such as lupus. Nowadays, doctors prescribe them when they never did before such as for a common cold or real infections to reduce symptoms!
TOPICALLY: psoriasis, eczema, rashes, poison ivy, hair loss. Topical and oral corticosteroids account for the majority of treatments recommended by dermatologists.
AGAIN I WILL NOTE THAT IF YOU CANNOT BREATH AS A RESULT OF SEVERE ASTHMA OR ALLERGIC REACTIONS INCLUDING ANAPHYLAXIS, THEN YOU MAY NEED A CORTICOSTEROID. Other than that, the use of corticosteroids should not be considered as a first line of defense. Ask what other options may be available to support your body in the healing process. Consider natural options first - dietary changes, herbs, behavioral changes, detoxificaiton, essential oils.
Let's just good consumers. Let's be proactive and dligent in our health care. Let's be informed and willing to ask questions, to ask for alternative solutions.
Wellness Advocate, BSN,RN
Top Three Essential Oils You Need: 99 Ways To Use Lavender, Lemon And Peppermint
There are so many amazing essential oils out there, but knowing which ones to start
with can be confusing! If this sounds familiar, then you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to introduce you to the three most popular essential oils from doTERRA that I always recommend; the Beginners Trio Kit of lavender, lemon and peppermint. I’m also going to share with you how to use them andhow to reap some fabulous benefits for you and your family. Remember that these are powerful oils and shouldn’t be applied without a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil. You can also use sweet almond oil or even olive oil. You can read more about using essential oils safely here.
Lavandula (common name lavender) is part of the mint family, Lamiaceae. Lavender flowers are usually purple, a colour associated with the crown chakra, for higher purpose and spiritual connectivity. This symbolism is so appropriate as lavender is often used for healing and. doTERRA source their lavender essential oil from Bulgaria where the sunny, dry Black Sea climate coupled with dry, well drained, sandy soils are ideal for this aromatic plant.
With a distinct aroma and countless applications, lavender essential oil has been used for centuries topically, internally and aromatically. Known for its sweet-floral aroma and calming properties, the major constituents of lavender oil include linalool and linalyl acetate. The versatile nature of this lovely oil make it a doTERRA favourite, and a must-have to keep on hand at all times.
33 Lavender Oil Uses And Benefits:
As my go-to Swiss Army knife essential oil, lavender is always in my holiday first-aid kit (read more here). Here’s a list of how to use lavender and some of the benefits:
Fun fact: it takes around 16 kilos of lavender flowers to produce just one 15ml bottle of lavender essential oil! If you’d like to learn more about the benefits and uses of lavender essential oil you can watch this video:
Have you tried any of these suggestions? What is your favourite way to use lavender?
doTERRA sources lemon essential oil from citrus orchards in Sicily, Italy. Through Co-Impact Sourcing®, doTERRA has provided a business opportunity for families who have grown lemon and bergamot for generations continue their family tradition of running an orchard. Clean, fresh, citrusy lemon essential oil is one of the most popular and versatile oils, with variety of uses and benefits, not just in the kitchen. The high limonene content makes it a powerful antioxidant and a cleansing agent so its deodorising and purifying properties are often used in cleaning and preservative products and diffusers. Lemon may also aid in digestion and support healthy respiratory function when taken internally.
33 Lemon Oil Uses And Benefits:
Fun fact: In one year, a single lemon tree has the potential to produce around 250kgs of lemons, and it typically takes around 45 lemons to fill a 15mL essential oil bottle. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits and uses of lemon essential oil you can watch this video:
Did you know about all the skincare applications for lemon essential oil? What are your favourite ways to use this lovely citrus oil in your home?
The peppermint plant is a versatile perennial herb that has been cherished since ancient times and is now used by cosmetic, culinary, and health industries around the world. It’s well known for its ability to help digestive health, promote healthy respiratory function, and provide flavour enhancement too. No wonder it’s one of doTERRA’s best-selling essential oils.
The main chemical component of peppermint is menthol which gives it the fresh and minty scent. It also makes it energising and invigorating, and is very cooling to the skin, and can be used topically to relieve feelings of tension.
33 Peppermint Oil Uses And Benefits:
Fun fact: Peppermint’s scientific name is Mentha piperita. In ancient Greek Mythology, Minthe (also known as Mentha), a nymph, was transformed by Queen Persephone into a sweet-smelling mint.
Have you ever used peppermint as a breathing aid? Or in recipes? How do you like to use it?
Post by: Tanya Maidment