Matthew Busse has pursued professional health and science writing since 2007, writing for national publications including "Science Magazine," "New Scientist" and "The Scientist." Busse holds a doctorate in molecular biology from the University of California-San Diego. View Full Profile Several other hormones regulated by the adrenal glands are also suppressed by prednisone, including cortisone, dehydroepiandrosterone, androsterone, aldosterone and tetrahydrocorticosterone, reports Alternative Medicine Review. The suppression of these hormones has several different effects. For example, dehydroepiandrosterone, abbreviated DHEA, is involved in regulating hormones involved in reproduction, brain function and the immune response. Suppression of DHEA may reduce the levels of sex hormones, weaken the bones, reduce the immune response and affect moods and mental functioning. People taking prednisone may sometimes also be prescribed DHEA to counteract these effects. Adrenal fatigue is characterized by relentless, debilitating fatigue. The adrenal glands are your body’s primary “shock absorbers.” These two little thumb-sized glands sitting on top of your kidneys produce hormones including norepinephrine, cortisol and DHEA that allow you to respond to the conditions of your daily life in healthy and flexible ways. I will discuss adrenal fatigue symptoms and adrenal fatigue treatments below, but first, you should know about the hormones that are involved in adrenal insufficiency. Norepinephrine (also called ) is commonly thought of as the fight-or-flight hormone. It’s produced when something is (or you think it is) threatening. This hormone makes your heart pound, your blood rush to your heart and large muscle groups, your pupils widen, your brain sharpen, and your tolerance for pain increase—basically, it prepares you for battle. Modern-day battles are most likely things like pushing your body to keep going when it’s fatigued, dealing with a stressful job, and reacting with quick reflexes to avoid a traffic accident.
Corticosteroid drugs — including cortisone, hydrocortisone and prednisone — are useful in treating many conditions, such as rashes, lupus and asthma. But these drugs also carry a risk of serious side effects. Working with your doctor, you can take steps to reduce these side effects so that the benefits of corticosteroid treatment outweigh the risks. Corticosteroids mimic the effects of hormones your body produces naturally in your adrenal glands, which are small glands that sit on top of your kidneys. When prescribed in doses that exceed your body's usual levels, corticosteroids suppress inflammation. This can reduce the signs and symptoms of inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and asthma. Corticosteroid drugs are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, asthma, allergies and many other conditions. The Facts You Need To Know – Download Fact Sheet There are normally two adrenal glands, located one above each kidney. The adrenal glands are really two endocrine glands in one. The inner part produces epinephrine (also called adrenaline). The outer portion of the adrenal is called the cortex. It makes two important steroid hormones, cortisol and aldosterone. CORTISOL mobilizes nutrients, modifies the body’s response to inflammation, stimulates the liver to raise the blood sugar, and also helps to control the amount of water in the body. ALDOSTERONE regulates salt and water levels which affects blood volume and blood pressure.
Taking prednisone overrides your natural production of cortisol. Developing adrenal insufficiency is more likely after taking high doses ~40 mg for long periods ~several weeks. A rapid taper off of prednisone of dose and schedule hastens the emergence and severity of the symptoms. I will discuss adrenal fatigue symptoms and adrenal fatigue treatments below, but first. Synthetic versions of cortisol — prednisone and cortisone, for example.