Prednisone and diabetes: What is the connection?
Prednisone is a steroid that works in a similar way to cortisol, which is the hormone normally made by the body's adrenal glands.
Steroids are used to treat a wide range of conditions from autoimmune disorders to problems related to inflammation, such as arthritis.
They work by reducing the activity of the body's immune system and reducing inflammation and so are useful in preventing tissue damage.
However, steroids may also affect how the body reacts to insulin, a hormone that controls the level of sugar in the blood.
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How do steroids affect blood sugar levels?
Steroids can cause blood sugar levels to rise by making the liver resistant to the insulin produced by the pancreas.
When blood sugar levels are high, insulin is secreted from the pancreas and delivered to the liver.
When insulin is delivered to the liver, it signals it to reduce the amount of sugar it normally releases to fuel cells. Instead, sugar is transported straight from the bloodstream to the cells. This process reduces the overall blood sugar concentration.
Steroids can make the liver less sensitive to insulin. They can make the liver carry on releasing sugar even if the pancreas is releasing insulin, signalling it to stop.
If this continues, it causes insulin resistance, where the cells no longer respond to the insulin produced by the body or injected to control diabetes. This condition is called steroid-induced diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high. There are two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabete Continue reading