Treatment of Steroid Induced Diabetes | Sakra World Hospital
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June, 2023

Steroid-induced Diabetes

Steroids, commonly used in medical treatments and sports, offer several advantages. However, one potential side effect that necessitates attention is reversing steroid induced diabetes. This form of diabetes arises as a result of prolonged steroid use, disrupting blood sugar regulation and posing significant health risks. This blog post will explore the link between steroids and diabetes, the mechanisms behind steroid-induced diabetes, and discuss crucial considerations for managing and mitigating the risk.

Understanding Steroid-Induced Diabetes:

  • Steroids, also known as corticosteroids or glucocorticoids, mimic the effects of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands.
  • Steroids are prescribed for various medical conditions and are used in sports and bodybuilding for performance enhancement.
  • Steroid-induced diabetes, also known as corticosteroid-induced diabetes or glucocorticoid-induced diabetes, occurs in individuals who use or have recently used steroids.
  • Steroids primarily affect glucose metabolism, leading to insulin resistance and impaired insulin production, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels.

Mechanisms of Steroid-Induced Diabetes:

  • Steroids increase hepatic glucose production by promoting glycogen breakdown and gluconeogenesis, leading to excess release of glucose into the bloodstream.
  • Steroids reduce the peripheral uptake of glucose by tissues, resulting in insulin resistance.
  • Steroids impair the function of pancreatic beta cells, responsible for producing insulin, leading to reduced insulin secretion.

Risk Factors and Symptoms:

  • High doses of steroids and prolonged treatment duration increase the likelihood of developing steroid-induced diabetes.
  • Underlying conditions such as obesity, family history of diabetes, and pre-existing glucose intolerance are risk factors.

Symptoms of steroid-induced diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination 
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss.

Management and Prevention:

  • Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels is crucial, especially for individuals at higher risk.
  • Following a healthy diet, managing weight, and engaging in regular physical activity can prevent or manage steroid-induced diabetes.
  • Lifestyle modifications that support blood sugar control, such as reducing refined sugars and carbohydrates, are beneficial.
  • In some cases, insulin or other anti-diabetic medications may be necessary to maintain optimal blood glucose levels.
  • Working closely with healthcare professionals to determine the most suitable treatment plan and medication regimen is essential.

Importance of Communication:

  • Individuals using steroids should communicate their steroid use to healthcare professionals to enable early detection and management of steroid-induced diabetes.
  • Open communication ensures comprehensive care and timely adjustments to treatment plans.

Awareness and Education:

  • It is vital to increase knowledge and understanding about steroid-induced diabetes among healthcare professionals, athletes, bodybuilders, and individuals receiving treatment of steroid induced hyperglycemia.
  • Education regarding the potential risks, symptoms, and preventive measures can empower individuals to make informed decisions and seek appropriate medical attention.


Steroid-induced diabetes is a significant concern that requires understanding and proactive management. By recognizing the link between steroids and diabetes, understanding the mechanisms behind steroid-induced diabetes, and adopting preventive measures, individuals can mitigate the risks associated with this condition. Sakra World Hospital in Bangalore provides exceptional diabetes treatment, emphasizing regular monitoring, healthy lifestyle choices, and open communication with healthcare experts to effectively manage steroid-induced diabetes and ensure overall well-being.



Dr Manjunath Malige

Director - Diabetes & Endocrinology

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