Are Anabolic Steroids Dangerous To Your Health?

May 29, 2013

Fitness

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic Steroids

When the words “anabolic steroids” were announced on television in respect to a beloved athlete, the world paused as fans skipped a breath. In 2007 Olympic gold-medalist Marion Jones, considered the fastest woman alive at the time, admitted to using steroids. The track-and-field star was stripped of five gold medals and sent to federal prison in 2008 for lying to investigators about her use of performance-enhancing drugs.

In January 2013, the legendary Tour-de-France winner Lance Armstrong followed a similar path in which he publically admitted to using a number of methods to improve performance. Among these were anabolic steroids, blood transfusions, and erythropoietin (EPO)—a way to increase the red blood cell count to delay fatigue and improve aerobic capacity. Armstrong was stripped of his seven TDF titles and forever banned from competitive cycling. Anabolic steroids are prohibited in the world of sports because they give athletes an unfair advantage over non-users of the drug. But what exactly are these?

Testosterone and steroids are commonly confused words as both are assumed to be detrimental substances that are abused in sports; however, testosterone is a naturally-occurring steroid which the human body produces. A “steroid” is a molecule that is backed by four rings of carbon. Common examples of steroids we naturally produce are estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and cholesterol. Obviously, athletes are not reprimanded for loading up on any of these substances. Instead, “steroids” in sports refers to anabolic-androgenic steroids (usually shortened to “anabolic steroids” or “steroids”) which are synthetic forms of testosterone.

In the United States, testosterone is a controlled level-III substance that is only available by prescription. It is not an illegal substance; however, abuse of this drug is rampant. It is believed that more people attain anabolic steroids through the black market rather than from a trusted physician. The people who abuse this drug are typically athletes and body builders looking to improve their strength, resistance, and increase their muscle mass.

Testosterone or growth hormone injection use is common in sports and body building because it promotes muscle growth, strength, speed, and quickens recovery. Athletes and body builders alike absorb the substance orally, through patches and creams, or through injections. The doses they intake are between 10 and 100 times stronger than a regularly prescribed dose. In such excess, it is no wonder the substance must be controlled as it causes a number of harmful side effects.

Short-term negative effects of the drug include headaches, severe bouts of acne and rage, muscle cramps, fluid retention, stomach pain, and more. Long-term effects include heart disease, liver cancer, rage, stunted growth, elevated cholesterol, shrinking testicles, difficulty or inability to produce testosterone naturally, infertility, and enlargement of the breasts. Women who take testosterone or growth hormone injections to improve athletic ability experience enlarged clitoris, deepening of the voice, and body/facial hair growth in addition to the previously mentioned ailments that can affect both men and women.

Are Anabolic Steroids Dangerous To Your Health?

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Anabolic Steroids

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