Despite what is known about steroids today and how dangerous they are, abuse is still common. Because of the muscle building properties they have, body builders and other professional athletes often fall victim to the lure and promise of enhanced performance and leaner muscle mass. Unfortunately, the side effects of these dangerous drugs can be deadly.
Most commonly abused steroids
Anabolic-androgenic steroids are the ones most commonly abused by athletes and bodybuilders. They are derivatives of testosterone, the male growth hormone responsible for the onset of puberty. One of the properties of testosterone that makes it attractive is its ability to engender protein retention, which in turn stimulates muscle development.
There are certainly benefits to steroid use, although most would argue that they don’t outweigh the many drawbacks. They can certainly help build muscle strength and size. They can also speed healing time from injuries, and increase your energy levels.
For a competitive bodybuilder, steroids are a virtual must to compete at the highest levels of the sport. It’s just not possible to achieve that kind of muscle mass and striation without the help of some kind of performance-enhancing drug. Many top athletes have admitted to taking steroids as well, most notably several high profile baseball players. It’s possible that they would never have had the storied careers without the regular use of steroids.
But as we all know, steroids can cause some very serious side effects. Aside from the physical effects of the drugs like liver damage, high blood pressure, jaundice, renal failure, and acne, many abusers experience severe psychiatric effects. Delusions, jealousy, paranoia, irritability, and feelings of invincibility that stem from impaired judgment have all been identified in people who take these medications for prolonged periods.
Other side effects of steroids are gender and age specific. Men may experience reduced sperm count, shrinking testicles or complete infertility, heightened risk of prostate cancer, and earl onset baldness. Women have experienced male pattern baldness, growth of facial hair, deepened voice, and changes in their menstrual cycle where it does not cease completely. Teens are at a high risk of stunted growth and developmental problems.
Still, the allure of bigger muscles, faster speeds and more energy proves too powerful for many, and they are willing to accept the potential side effects to achieve their performance goals. This is unfortunate though as so many promising athletes and bodybuilders fall victim to the devastating effects.
If you have considered taking steroids, or have been taking them, talk to your doctor about the potential adverse reactions. There are some you may not be aware of. Of course, it’s a personal choice, but at least educate yourself enough to be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to make them part of your daily routine.
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