ItHome Hypertension Children Taking Steroids More Likely To Have Diabetes, Hypertension or Blood Clots –

Children Taking Steroids More Likely To Have Diabetes, Hypertension or Blood Clots –

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Scott Bloomer

A new study, conducted by Rutgers researchers, has found
that children who take oral steroids for asthma or autoimmune diseases are at
increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and blood

The study, published in the American Journal of
Epidemiology, looked at the records of over 933,000 children in the United
States, aged between 1 and 18, with or without autoimmune diseases, such as
inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), juvenile arthritis, or psoriasis.

Among participants without an autoimmune disease, nearly two
in three children who received steroids had evidence of asthma.

Study author Dr. Daniel Horton said, “The rates of diabetes,
high blood pressure, and blood clots from oral steroids have been studied in
large populations of adults.”

“However, there are reasons to think these findings might be
different in children, who not only tend to take steroids differently than
adults but also have much lower baseline risks of developing these same
cardiovascular and metabolic conditions,” he added.

“This study allowed us to put numbers on the association
between oral steroids and rare, but potentially serious, complications in
children,” Dr. Horton said.

The team found that children who received high doses of
steroids experienced diabetes, hypertension, and blood clots at much higher
rates than children receiving lower doses.

Among all the complications, high blood pressure was found
to be the most common one with steroid treatment. These complications were seen
more in children with autoimmune diseases, independent of the steroid effect.

Dr. Horton said, “While children receiving high-dose
steroids were at substantially higher risk for developing diabetes, high blood
pressure or blood clots relative to children not taking these medicines, the
absolute risks of these complications were still small.”

“The vast majority of children taking brief courses of
steroids for conditions such as asthma, for instance, will not experience these
complications,” he added. The
co-author of the study was Dr. Brian Strom, the first chancellor of Rutgers
Biomedical and Health Sciences.

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