Side effects of glucocorticoids

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Although HC in appropriate physiologic replacement doses may be
critical to good health, it may cause side effects in some individuals.
Side effects may include:
• Decreased potassium
• Fluid retention
• may be caused by low potassium; test and supplement if needed
• may be caused by cortisol being high in relation to the available
T3; higher doses of thyroid medication may correct it
• Weight gain
• this will be corrected when thyroid is optimized
• Elevated progesterone
• Decreased testosterone and/or estrogen
• Decreased aldosterone
See discussion of sex hormones here
Symptoms of too high a dose of HC may include:
• Easy bruising
• Elevated blood pressure, particularly the systolic measure
• Fluid retention, particularly in the legs
• Weight gain, particularly in belly area
• Anger
Side effects of long-term use of pharmacologic (high) doses
Moon-shaped face
Increased fat in the back of the neck and upper back area (hump)
Weak and/or deteriorating muscles
• Reddish purple lines on the arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin
• Thin skin, easy bruising and slower wound healing
• Thinning bones (osteoporosis) and fractures
• Clouding of the lens in one or both eyes (cataracts)
• High blood sugar, which can trigger or worsen diabetes
• Increased risk of infections
Unexpected tiredness
A physiologic replacement dose of HC would be expected to help
resolve issues of fatigue. However, a new feeling of tiredness when the
body has adjusted to the correct dose of hydrocortisone can occur, as
adrenaline that had been substituting for low cortisol is no longer being