Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are drugs that are used by athletes to increase their muscle strength and power. The word anabolic means, "to build up." These drugs are made of testosterone and other similar substances that are used in the body to increase protein production, build muscle, and decrease the amount of fat below the skin (subcutaneous ). Other performance enhancing (ergogenic) effects of anabolic steroids include increasing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and stimulating the central nervous system, which increases motivation and decreases fatigue. In addition to their muscle building properties, anabolic steroids are also androgenic drugs, which means that they increase the stimulation of male characteristics in body tissues in both males and females.

WHY ATHLETES USE IT

Anabolic steroids are used by athletes for their muscle strength and power increasing properties. In addition, some athletes use anabolic steroids in an effort to reduce muscle fatigue.

ADVERSE EFFECTS

  • Liver disease.

  • Skin turns yellow from liver injury (jaundice).

  • Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis).

  • Liver cancer.

  • Decreased levels of sex hormones.

  • Depression with withdrawal.

  • Anxiety.

  • Aggressive behavior.

  • Headache.

  • Decreased sperm count in men.

  • Development of breast tissue in men (gynecomastia).

  • Deepened voice in women.

  • Stroke.

  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction).

  • Abnormal lipid profile.

  • Fear that people are against you (paranoia).

  • Acne.

  • Increased facial hair in women.

PHARMACOLOGY

Anabolic steroids may be ingested in pill form or through injection, and may be either long or short-acting. Steroids that are taken by mouth are often more dangerous to the liver. Those that are injected often remain in the body for long periods. In addition to the adverse side effects of the steroids themselves, if injected, steroid use has the inherent risks of needle sharing, including HIV and hepatitis B. Both of these can result in death.

PREVENTION

Anabolic steroids have the potential to be very dangerous. The best way to prevent the adverse effects of anabolic steroid use is to not take them. The use of anabolic steroids gives athletes an unfair advantage in competitive play. For this reason, they are banned from all major athletic competitions. Severe penalties are in place for athletes who are caught using anabolic steroids.