Steroids may have greater impact on diabeticsIf you are a diabetic and there is a need for you to undergo steroid therapy, your doctor should advise you on adjusting your diabetes therapy.

Steroids, particularly glucocorticoids can affect the glucose level in a person’s bloodstream. Glucocorticoids include hydrocortisone, prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone and betamethasone.

Since insulin is the only hormone that could overcome this effect, increase in insulin doses may be needed. The diabetic may also need to plan his meals or control his food intake since steroid can increase hunger.

Steroids can also make a non-diabetic increase their blood sugar levels. Steroids can make the liver produce sugar from substances such as proteins and fats. Steroids can also inhibit insulin release from the pancreas and its action in our body tissues.

The type of steroids and the form of administration can have various effects on sugar levels. Generally, inhaled and topical steroids have less effect on blood sugar levels compared to other types and routes of delivery.

Dosages also affect sugar levels. If steroids are given in low doses, it may have no effect on sugar levels, while moderate to higher doses can increase sugar levels significantly.

Fortunately, this effect is reversible. Once steroid therapy is stopped, blood sugar levels usually returns to normal.