Meaning of Cortisol

Cortisol or cortisone is a type of steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex. It is a naturally occurring corticosteroid that is even used as a pharmaceutical drug. Cortisone named glucocorticoid is primarily known as an agent responsible for the conversion of proteins to carbohydrates. Cortisone, in the form of a mineral corticoid, helps regulate the salt metabolism in the body. Cortisone is given mainly as a prodrug for its anti-inflammatory effects. It can be converted into an active corticosteroid by the liver after being injected into the body for being effective. 


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History of Cortisone

Cortisone was first identified by the American doctors Edward Calvin Kendall and Harold L Mason. During its early stages of discovery, cortisone was known by the name Compound E and cortisol was named Compound F. In the year 1949, a group of doctors discovered that cortisone, when injected in large doses, helped in the treatment of patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis. Later, in the year 1950, Kendall and his colleagues were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology for the discovery of the structure and functions of adrenal cortex hormones, including cortisone. Cortisone was first introduced as a commercial drug by Merck & Co. in the 1950s. 

Cortisone was influential in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, but in the process showed a variety of side effects on the patients, because of which it was later replaced by substitutes that did not show any side effects. 


Production of Cortisone

Cortisone is primarily produced by the adrenal cortex. It is one of the end products of a process called steroidogenesis. Steroidogenesis is a process whereby cholesterol is synthesised and passes through a series of modifications in the adrenal cortex to form steroid hormones. In peripheral tissues, such as the kidneys, the cortisol is rendered to inactive cortisone. If the active cortisol is released into the kidney, it might increase the blood pressure in human beings and cause adverse health issues.

As though cortisone is mainly produced by the adrenal cortex, its quantity is very minimal. The amounts of cortisone present in nature are also minimal, which was not enough for clinical trials. Still, in later years scientists found a way to produce cortisone from deoxycholic acid, a bile constituent.


Cortisone Use

Cortisone use is extensive in the field of medicine. People often misunderstand cortisol shot as cortisone. When people say that they are getting a cortisone shot, they actually might be receiving hydrocortisone or one of the many synthetic cortisol steroids. Cortisone shots are injected as a prodrug to be converted into active cortisol by the liver and put into effective use by the body.

Cortisol steroids are used in the field of medicine to treat various ailments. Corticosteroid shots can be induced into the body in many ways. Some of which include intravenously (through the veins), orally, intra-articularly (through the joints), and transcutaneously (into the skin). These steroid shots can prevent the body from numerous ailments such as inflammation, pain, and swelling.

Cortisol shot is used in the treatment of various kinds of cancers, such as leukaemia and lymphoma. Cortisone steroid injection can be used to provide short-term relief from joint pain and inflammation. Dermatologists use cortisone eczema treatment and atopic dermatitis treatment.

Cortisone helps to reduce the side effects such as vomiting and nausea caused by chemotherapy drugs.


Side Effect of Cortisone

Cortisone has been proven to be effective against many pain and ailments, but long-term use can have serious side effects on the human body. The oral use of cortisone has several adverse effects on the body. A person consuming cortisone regularly can experience anxiety, depression, cataracts, glaucoma, Cushing’s syndrome, increased infection risk, or impaired growth. 

A person consuming hydrocortisone can experience difficulty in sleeping, mild headache, increased appetite, irritability in the skin, nausea, swelling of ankles and feet, heartburn, and muscle weakness.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Explain the Meaning of Cortisol.

Answer: Cortisol is the activated cortisone which is a steroid hormone. Cortisone is primarily produced in the adrenal cortex and is responsible for the conversion of proteins into carbohydrates, and it also regulates the salt metabolism of the body. Cortisol can be harmful to the body, so it is converted into inactive cortisone in the kidney by the action of an enzyme. Cortisol is used as cortisol shots for its anti-inflammatory effects. It helps in providing relief from pain and other ailments. After being injected into the body, the inactive cortisone steroid is converted into active cortisol in the liver by an enzyme for the treatment of pain and swelling ailments.

2. Mention Some of the Uses and Side Effects of Cortisone.

Answer: Cortisone is a steroid hormone, has a variety of uses in the field of medicine. The primary use of cortisone is to prevent inflammation in various parts of the body. It can help prevent various autoimmune diseases such as skin conditions, asthma and other lung-related conditions. It is extensively used to treat cancers, including leukaemia and multiple myeloma. Cortisone is used in preventing side effects caused by chemotherapy drugs. It can help in stimulating appetite in cancer patients with severe appetite problems. It is a significant component of lotions used for the treatment of skin rashes, irritation, swelling and itching. 


With the uses mentioned above, cortisone also has certain side effects. Doses of cortisone, when consumed orally, can cause serious health issues including anxiety, depression, cataracts, glaucoma, Cushing’s syndrome, increased infection risk, impaired growth.