Prednisone and Diet

Dr. John Wade, MD, FRCPC, Rheumatologist, talks about how important diet is when taking prednisone.

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Dr. John Wade, MD, FRCPC, Rheumatologist, talks about how important diet is when taking prednisone.
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Video transcript

Featuring Dr. John Wade, MD, FRCPC, Rheumatologist

Duration: 2 minutes, 34 seconds

It’s very important if you’re on prednisone to have a good diet. The diet should consist of lots of vegetables, no junk food. It’s also very important to restrict your calories. Prednisone you will find will stimulate or increase your appetite, and you’ll want to eat a lot of carbohydrates. It’s a good idea to have a lot of vegetables around that you can eat as a replacement of eating a lot of cookies and cakes and things that you shouldn’t be eating.

Along with diet exercise is very important. Exercise is good because it strengthens your muscles, but also it’s important for burning off calories. So, it’s important that you have a structured exercise program on a daily basis.

And things like walking, going to the gym, swimming, are good forms of exercise. It’s probably a good idea not to do high impact exercises. So if you can do things like walking, swimming, that’s probably better exercise than high-impact exercises like running.

As we mentioned earlier, prednisone can have an effect on the bone, causing osteoporosis. So in addition to exercise, it’s very important that you have appropriate amounts of calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Calcium can be taken in normal foods such as milk, yogurt, cheeses, but if you’re not getting enough calcium in your diet, it doesn’t hurt to supplement with a small amount of calcium.

In addition, we often don’t get enough vitamin D in our diet, so it’s probably a good idea to supplement with vitamin D. And we’ll recommend that you take vitamin D 2,000 units daily alongside any calcium supplementation.

If you are at risk of osteoporosis and you go on prednisone, your doctor may want to do a bone density test. And the bone density will determine how much calcium is in your spine and your hip. And if you’re going to be on prednisone at a high dose for a long period of time and there’s concern about osteoporosis, your doctor – in addition to recommending calcium and vitamin D – might recommend you go on a bone protection medication.

There are a number of bone protection medications that you could consider. They could be pills, injections or infusions. And you will want to talk to your doctor about which is the best one for you.

Presenter: Dr. John Wade, Rheumatologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.