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Glucocorticoids

Endocrine Hormones
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The generic name for the synthetic analogues of the adrenalcortico hormones are corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are divided into three classes, one of them being glucocorticoids.

Glucocorticoids are able to facilitate the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat, and protein, which increases gluconeogenesis and helps provide fuel to the cells especially in times when the body is under stress.
Not only do they influence glucose metabolism, but they are used theraputically for their ability to inhibit the inflammatory response to tissue injury, as well as, immunosuppress allergic response.

In conditions that require the short term use of glucocorticoids, side effects do not often pose a problem. Side effects such as delayed wound healing due to inhibition of protein synthesis, and the masking of infections present in the body due to immunosuppression, are more often seen in long term therapy or when given in high doses.

Another effect of high dose or long term administration of glucocorticoids is that the adrenal cortex believing that there is already enough circulating hormone will cease to release its own endogenous ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) and glucocorticoids. This in turn can cause atrophy of the adrenal cortex. If the exogenous glucocorticoids are abruptly discontinued, and not reduced gradually over time, renal insufficiency, cardiovascular collapse, and death can result because the cortex is unable to respond.

It is important to note that the administering of corticosteroids is not for curative purposes but as an aid to help alleviate symptoms.

Posted on June 23, 2003, 16:13, Last updated on October 21, 2005, 09:15 | Endocrine Hormones



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