Steroid diabetes: symptoms and treatment of the disease from anabolic steroids

Steroid diabetes mellitus is a disease that develops as a result of a malfunction of the adrenal cortex or prolonged use of hormonal drugs.

The steroid handicap of diabetes poses the greatest danger for people with a predisposition to diabetes, determine what it is, whether hypercorticism is associated with this condition, and what to do.

This disease has a detrimental effect on the pancreas, destroying the cells of the organ and interfering with the normal production of the hormone insulin. For this reason, steroid diabetes mellitus is often referred to as secondary insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes.

The reasons

There are two main reasons for the development of steroid diabetes:

As a complication of diseases that trigger increased production of adrenal hormones, for example, Itsenko-Cushing's disease;

As a consequence of long-term treatment with hormonal drugs.

Most often, the cause of steroid diabetes is just taking hormones, which is why it is sometimes called drug-induced diabetes. This dangerous disease often develops as a serious side effect with prolonged treatment with such glucocorticoid drugs such as:

  1. Hydrocortisone;
  2. Prednisolone;
  3. Dexamethasone.

These drugs are usually prescribed to combat the inflammatory process in severe chronic diseases and to treat neurological ailments. Therefore, steroid diabetes often affects patients with the following diseases:

  • Bronchial asthma;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Various autoimmune diseases (pemphigus, eczema, lupus erythematosus);
  • Multiple sclerosis.

In addition, the intake of certain diuretic drugs may affect the development of steroid diabetes. The most popular among them is the following:

  1. Dichlothiazide;
  2. Hypothiazide;
  3. Nefrix;
  4. Navidrex.

Also, this type of diabetes is often diagnosed in women, who for a long time used hormonal contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

In addition, the risk group also includes people who have undergone a kidney transplant operation.


To find out how steroids are related and diabetes, it is necessary to understand how hormonal drugs act on the human body. With prolonged use of these funds, the patient's blood biochemistry changes noticeably. In this case, it significantly increases the level of corticosteroids.

Steroids adversely affect the b-cells of the pancreas, which leads to their gradual necrosis. This affects the level of the hormone insulin in the patient's body, reducing it to a minimum and provoking the development of diabetes. In addition, steroid hormones make cells of the body not susceptible to insulin, which disrupts the patient's carbohydrate metabolism.

Thus, signs of diabetes of both type 1 and type 2 are characteristic of steroid diabetes. As a result, the course of this disease can be quite severe and lead to serious complications.

It should be noted that diabetes, triggered by steroids, develops very slowly and in the early stages of the disease can almost never manifest itself. The following symptoms indicate that a person has steroid diabetes:

  • Great thirst. To satisfy her the patient consumes a huge amount of fluid;
  • Fatigue and decreased performance. It becomes difficult for a person to perform ordinary daily activities;
  • Frequent urination. At each visit to the toilet, the patient is allocated a huge amount of urine;

At the same time, unlike diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2, in patients with the steroid form of the disease, the level of sugar in the blood and urine rarely exceeds the norm. The same applies to the level of acetone, which usually does not go beyond the permissible norms. This significantly complicates the diagnosis of the disease.

Factors contributing to the development of steroid diabetes:

  1. Long course of treatment with corticosteroids;
  2. Regular intake of hormonal drugs in high doses;
  3. Frequent rise in blood sugar for unknown reasons;
  4. Big overweight.

It is important to emphasize that many patients taking hormonal drugs may have diabetes. However, most often it proceeds in a rather mild form and completely disappears after completion of the course of treatment.

A severe form of the disease is usually observed only in people prone to diabetes or already suffering from this ailment. Many people with diabetes do not realize their diagnosis, as the disease proceeds in a latent form. However, taking corticosteroids enhances the course of the disease and accelerates its development.

Another factor contributing to the emergence of steroid diabetes is overweight, which proves that diabetes and obesity are interrelated.

People who suffer from obesity, taking hormonal drugs should be with great caution and only if it is recommended by a doctor.


Treatment of steroid diabetes should be carried out depending on the stage of the disease. If the secretion of insulin in the body was completely stopped, then the fight against this disease should be carried out in the same way as with type 1 diabetes.

Treatment of insulin-dependent steroid diabetes includes the following procedures:

  • Daily insulin injections;
  • Compliance with therapeutic diets (it can be a low carbohydrate diet, but it is contraindicated for people with kidney disease);
  • High physical activity (walking, running, gymnastics);

And the most important for improving the condition of the patient are precisely the diet and exercise. This treatment helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.

It is important to emphasize that insulin-dependent diabetes is an incurable disease, since pancreatic b-cells destroyed by corticosteroids are no longer restored.

If insulin production was not completely disrupted and the gland cells continue to produce a hormone, then the patient develops insulin-independent diabetes, which corresponds to type 2 diabetes.

For his treatment is required:

  1. Adherence to low-carb diets;
  2. Mandatory exercise;
  3. Taking medications that increase the sensitivity of tissues to insulin: Glucophage, Thiazolidinedione and Siofor;
  4. Fighting overweight (if any);
  5. Insulin injections are acceptable to maintain the affected gland.

With this type of diabetes, the function of the pancreas can fully recover, which means that non-insulin-dependent diabetes is treatable.

If a patient has been diagnosed with diabetes, but he cannot refuse to take corticosteroids (for example, during kidney transplantation or severe asthma), he is prescribed anabolic hormones that help neutralize the action of glucocorticoid drugs. This treatment helps to maintain the patient's normal well-being. Details about the problem - in the video in this article.

Watch the video: The Dangers of Prednisone (January 2020).