It has been known for a long time that systemic steroids can affect bone density. This effect is both dose and durations of therapy related.
Until recently, there has not been a good scientific study of topical steroids and bones. Danish scientists recently Finished (pun intended) a 15-year study of 723,000 adults using topical steroids. They found that long term use of medium or high potency steroids did contribute to the development of osteoporosis and also increased risk for bone fractures.
The results of a Harvard study done over the past 25 years on childhood asthma are somewhat distressing. The research was published in a recent edition of The New England Journal of Medicine. Known as CAMP – Childhood Asthma Management Program – the study allowed long-term outcomes to be determined.
It compared the use of a daily inhaled steroid versus placebo for the first 4.5 years. Then the children were returned to the care of their pediatricians and followed for 20+ years. As young adults, 11 percent of this group met the World Health Organization’s criteria for COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
Also, there was no apparent long-term preventive value from the 4.5 years of daily steroid use during childhood. Development of chronic impaired lung function occurred equally in treated and untreated groups. Remember that despite this lack of long-term benefits, inhaled steroids are still the cornerstone of asthma management. Hundreds of studies have shown their benefit in controlling symptoms, improving quality of life and reducing ER visits and asthmatic deaths.
At least, there is a therapy known to prevent long-term loss of lung function in asthmatic children — that is immunotherapy (allergy shots). Of course, it only benefits children whose asthma is allergenic in nature. Fortunately, this is the majority of asthmatic children.
Infants who have food allergy display a pro-inflammatory profile in their umbilical cord blood at the time of birth.
So say research scientists at the University of Melbourne. They found that the length of a woman’s labor seemed to lead to greater numbers of white blood cells that produce inflammatory proteins (called cytokines).
Thus: short labor also leads to less chance of food allergy; long labor leads to a greater chance.
The European Respiratory Society completed a long-term study on the effect of extended use of inhaled steroids on the ultimate height of asthmatic children. They found that in children with moderate asthma who required daily use of inhaled steroids over many years, their ultimate adult height was within one centimeter of that expected.