Steroids and Spinal Problems

A study published in the October, 2000 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, indicates that people over the age of 60 who take corticosteroids for longer than six months have a greater risk of developing spinal deformities. Corticosteroids are commonly prescribed for autoimmune diseases and other inflammatory conditions. Steroids are known to cause bone demineralization and increase the risk for developing osteoporosis.

The subjects of the study were 515 men and women over the age of 60. Of that group, 229 had taken corticosteroids for longer than six months. The others had not. The researchers found a relationship between the amount of spinal deformity and the use of the steroids that extended beyond what could be expected from the loss of bone density.

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