Why is Prednisone Making You Feel Old?
“Isn’t that like old-people stuff?!” said a young prednisone warrior describing her many prednisone side effects.
Yes, prednisone causes all sorts of side effects that make you feel like you’re suddenly old. There are things that you shouldn’t worry about until you are in a care center but now are possible thanks to prednisone!
Like a clock ⌚ ticking too quickly… prednisone makes us feel old 👴 too soon.
In this article, discover how prednisone ages you before your time… and what you can do about it.
How Does Prednisone Work?
Prednisone mimics our body’s natural hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is also known as the “wear and tear” hormone because it leads to body parts and systems wearing out and breaking down. Prednisone makes you feel old because it leads to your body wearing out faster than normal from side effects.
Which Prednisone Side Effects Make You Feel Old?
- Hot flashes
- Eye problems like glaucoma or cataracts
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
And the list goes on! Throughout the rest of this article, find out more about each of these side effects.
Prednisone causes several effects on bone, mostly causing bone loss. Below I discuss two specific changes to bone from prednisone.
Prednisone is the #1 drug that causes osteoporosis. (To learn more about this, read this article). Both osteoporosis and osteonecrosis are permanent side effects of prednisone that do not heal or disappear when prednisone is stopped.
What is Osteonecrosis?
Arguably the worst side effect of prednisone, osteonecrosis, is when the joints erode, waste away, and are destroyed. Osteonecrosis is also called avascular necrosis (AVN), and it primarily affects the hip joint requiring a hip replacement surgery.
AVN predominantly affects people with a history of prednisone use in their 30’s and 40’s. Talk about feeling old! Needing a hip replacement surgery should be due to old age, not a drug!
Many of the prednisone side effects mimic what people describe as “going through menopause.” Here are some examples of how prednisone side effects are like menopause.
Does Prednisone Make You Sweat?
How Does Prednisone Cause Hot Flashes?
Prednisone changes your temperature regulation through actions on the thyroid and adrenal glands. For some people, this leads to hot flashes, red flushed cheeks, and drenching sweat. That sounds like a menopausal woman, doesn’t it?
When I asked, “Is it hot in here?” I found out it was just me! Normally I’m the cold person, asking for the thermostat to be adjusted to make it warmer in the room. But while on prednisone, occasionally I had hot flashes.
My red flushed cheeks!
Many of the ways people describe a menopausal woman relates to prednisone side effects. Emotional, “flying off the handle,” unpredictable, mood swings, rage, depression, and uncontrollable anger, are all terms that can be used to describe a woman going through menopause or a person on prednisone.
Read more about emotional, mood, and psychiatric side effects here. If you need help with mood changes, I also include what you can do about it.
Prednisone causes brain fog, confusion, disorientation, word-finding difficulty, psychosis, dementia, and other symptoms that sound a lot like Alzheimer’s disease. These side effects sound too much like age-related memory problems!
Prednisone makes your eyes seem old. Common prednisone side effects on the eyes include blurry vision, glaucoma, and cataracts. People on prednisone complain of blurry vision especially upon waking. Blurry vision is temporary and usually goes away within a few hours of waking.
Glaucoma is when there is too much pressure inside the eye. Prednisone changes blood pressure regulation in the blood vessels and in the eye through actions on the mineralocorticoid receptor. This can lead to higher pressure inside the eye.
In extreme cases, glaucoma can lead to blindness by wearing down the fine blood vessels in the eye. Glaucoma is more common in people who use steroid eye drops, like prednisolone acetate drops than in people taking prednisone by mouth in a pill.
Will Glaucoma Go Away?
Glaucoma and other blood pressure-related side effects to prednisone usually go away when prednisone is stopped.
Cataracts Don’t Go Away
Most side effects of prednisone will eventually disappear or heal when prednisone is stopped. Cataracts are a permanent side effect of prednisone. The type of cataracts caused by prednisone is different than the type caused by old age.
Prednisone causes posterior subcapsular cataracts, and eye doctors can recognize these as caused by prednisone, not old age. In severe cases, cataracts can cause blindness as well. However, cataract surgery can usually restore vision to those affected.
Prednisone notoriously causes high blood sugar. This can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and many other consequences. Prednisone use is associated with 4x greater risk of diabetes.
The important thing to understand is that prednisone is a glucocorticoid. “Gluco-” meaning that prednisone affects your body’s blood sugar, glucose.
Read this article to learn more about prednisone weight gain.
High Blood Pressure
Prednisone use leads to 4x greater risk of blood pressure. How?
Prednisone hijacks the HPA axis which leads to changes in how your body reacts to stress. The kidneys hold on to sodium, which leads to extra water. The extra fluid makes it harder for the heart to pump the blood, which leads to high blood pressure. Your doctor may prescribe a blood pressure medicine while you are taking prednisone.
Prednisone modifies the normal metabolism of cholesterol. Prednisone looks similar to the molecule of cholesterol, so the body systems surrounding cholesterol change when prednisone is given. High cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Some people need a cholesterol medicine like a statin while on prednisone.
Prednisolone can lead to increases in the following types of cholesterol, even more than hydrocortisone, another steroid:
- Total cholesterol
- LDL (low density)
Prednisone use is associated with 2.56 times greater risk of heart diseases like heart attack, stroke, arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death. If you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, be sure to take your medicines as they have evidence for saving lives.
What Can I Do?
People taking prednisone should eat as healthfully as possible, focusing on the right nutrients.
- Calcium is important for bone health.
- Sodium should be avoided for heart health.
- Refined carbohydrates should be avoided to prevent diabetes.
Nutranize® Zone Gives Back What Prednisone Steals
Nutranize Zone is formulated especially for people on prednisone to give back the nutrients they need. I created it just for you!
Prednisone Warriors who take Nutranize Zone say it helps them feel like themselves again!
Nutranize Zone allowed Jamie “to be the wife and mother” she used to be.
Ashleigh said Nutranize Zone helped her play with her kids again.
Get Nutranize Zone at Nutranize.com so you can feel like yourself again.
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