The pharmacological actions of steroids are generally an extension of their physiological effects. Adrenal cor-ticosteroids exert effects on almost every organ in the body. In normal physiological concentrations, they are essential for homeostasis, for coping with stress, and for the very maintenance of life.
The designation "glucocorticoid activity" is arbitrary, since naturally occurring glucocorticoids, such as cortisol, also possess mineralocorticoid activity, and the principal mineralocorticoid, aldosterone, when administered in very high doses, has glucocorticoid activity. Moreover, hydrocortisone, as well as certain synthetic glucocorticoids, such as prednisone and dexametha-sone, binds to mineralocorticoid receptors. However, the distinction between these two groups serves a useful purpose when dissociation of the basic actions becomes crucial for optimizing steroids' therapeutic efficiency.
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If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.