Cortisone is a hormone released by the adrenal glands during the body's stress response. It has a widespread effect on the body by reducing pain. It does this by reducing inflammation. Cortisone injections use synthetic cortisone to achieve this same effect in a local area. In the case of osteoarthritis, the hormone is injected into the affected joint. The treatment is incredibly effective at relieving pain, but it does not last forever. This means, every once in a while, the patient must return for another cortisone treatment. Long-term use of cortisone treatment, however, can lead to serious side effects. Some patients flare up in response to injections, diabetes patients may experience an increase in blood glucose levels, and some individuals develop infections at the site of the injections. Individuals who use cortisone for a long time can cause damage to the body's soft tissues, and they may develop Cushing's syndrome, which results in many serious medical problems. Still, for those who use these injections sporadically, the treatment can be incredibly beneficial.
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