Steroids such as prednisone and prednisolone are commonly used treatment in kidney disease especially Nephrotic Syndrome, FSGS or other glomerulonephritis to suppress kidney inflammation and reduce protein leakage. If you are sensitive to steroids, proteinuria will turn negative quickly. If you are steroid-dependent, once you taper or stop steroid intake, proteinuria, swelling and other symptoms come back again. If you are steroid-resistant, steroids do not take effect on you, so immunosuppressants may have to be used instead or together.
Common side effects of steroid treatment
In short term, steroids can help you halt the progression of kidney disease to reduce further kidney damage. But if they are used for long-term, a series of side effects will appear, for example, weight gain, moon face, abnormal fat deposition on neck and trunk, acne, fractures, facial hair growth in females, mood changes, swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs, trouble thinking, speaking, or walking, blurred vision, decrease in the amount of urine, dizziness, diabetes, etc. For children, who are in development and growth, the long-term use of steroids may cause growth retardation. Therefore, importance should be attached if steroids are given to a child patient. In addition, because steroids can suppress immune system, it is likely for kidney patients to have infections, which can trigger the relapse of disease. In severe cases, infections may threaten your life.
How to counteract the side effects of steroids?
In conventional treatment, some medications may be prescribed together with steroids to counteract its side effects. For example, stomach medicine, which can protect your stomach from being damaged by steroids. When you have severe side effects, your doctor may help you change the steroids or adjust its dosage.
Why kidney disease relapses frequently under steroid treatment?
Steroids are just to inhibit kidney inflammation rather than cleanse substances that cause kidney inflammation. For glomerulonephritis patients, it is those immune complexes that cause kidney inflammation. Once you taper or stop steroids, renal inflammation may flare up again so as to cause the relapse of disease.
Alternatives to steroids for kidney disease .
In our hospital, a systemic Chinese medicine treatment is often used to replace steroids. When you come to our hospital, you will be arranged to do tests. After analyzing your condition, we will help you make such a treatment plan. The commonly used Chinese medicine includes Micro-Chinese Medicine Osmotherapy, Medicated Bath, Foot Bath, Enema Therapy, Steam Therapy, Mai Kang Mixture, Moxibustion, etc. Some of them can help you expel waste products from body to make internal environment clean for kidney self-healing and other medication application. Some can dilate blood vessels to lower high blood pressure. Some can activate blood circulation to remove stasis. Some can lower blood cholesterol level and regulate blood sugar level. Some can strengthen immunity to fight against the disease. In such a good blood environment, the damaged kidneys will repair themselves and regain their ability. With the improvement of kidney function, associated symptoms such as proteinuria and swelling will be under control.