Long-term treatment with prednisone can cause a number of side effects. You can minimize these problems by taking the following steps:
- Protect your bones. Ask your doctor how much vitamin D and calcium you need in your diet, and discuss whether you need to take any supplements.
- Exercise. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, which is important when you're taking corticosteroid medications that can cause weight gain. Strength training and weight-bearing exercises such as walking and jogging also help improve bone health.
- Stop smoking. This is one of the most significant things you can do for your overall health. By itself, smoking causes serious health problems. It also makes problems you already have worse and can increase the side effects of medications you're taking.
- Adopt a healthy diet. Steroids can cause high blood sugar levels and, eventually, type 2 diabetes. It helps to include in your diet foods that help keep blood sugar stable, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Keep doctor appointments. During therapy for Churg-Strauss syndrome, your doctor will monitor you closely for side effects. This will likely include regular bone scans, eye exams, and tests for blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. If caught in time, it's possible to reverse many of the side effects resulting from steroid use.
He or she will also look for signs of Churg-Strauss syndrome affecting new organs (relapse).
Churg-Strauss syndrome is a serious disease. Even when it's in remission, you may worry about the possibility of recurrence or about long-term damage to your heart, lungs and nerves. Here are some suggestions for coping with the disease:
- Educate yourself about Churg-Strauss syndrome. The more you know, the better prepared you may be to deal with complications or recurrences. Besides talking to your doctor, you may want to talk to a counselor or medical social worker. Or you may find it helpful to talk to other people with Churg-Strauss syndrome.
- Maintain a support system. Family and friends can help tremendously. But sometimes you may find it especially helpful to talk with others who with Churg-Strauss syndrome. Your doctor or a medical social worker may be able to put you in touch with a support group.
Aug. 16, 2016
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- Medication and side effects. The Churg-Strauss Syndrome Association. http://www.cssassociation.org/medications-and-side-effects.html. Accessed June 27, 2016.
- Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA/ChurgStrauss syndrome). Vasculitis Foundation. http://www.vasculitisfoundation.org/education/forms/eosinophilic-granulomatosis-with-polyangiitis-churg-strauss-syndrome/. Accessed June 25, 2016.