The term steroids normally are associated with reference to a class of drugs that are used to treat a variety of medical conditions. Steroids have several uses for medical purposes, such as maintaining sexual characteristics in males following surgery for removal of testes following testicular cancer, in adolescent males suffering with malfunction of the pituitary gland, and following surgery and cancer that involves loss of muscle tissue. These drugs are also used for supporting reproduction, regulation of the metabolism and immune functions. Also used for increasing muscle mass, bone mass, inflammation and other medical conditions. Anabolic Steroids (AAS)
“Anabolic means use of something that causes a building up of tissue. The term anabolism refers more generally to an increase in lean tissue in particular muscle tissue”. Anabolic steroids or more precisely anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are a class of synthetic drugs that are designed to mimic the effects of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is derived in the body from cholesterol, and like other steroid hormones, testosterone has its main effect on tissues. Testosterone enters a body cell and attaches to a receptor which crosses into the cell nucleus where it activates the synthesis of protein. Protein synthesis leads to tissue repair and growth. If we are able to increase protein synthesis it would lead to quicker regeneration of the body, and to give faster recovery from illness and injuries. A steroid used in the treatment of medical conditions usually involves the use of only one type of steroid and medical patients are closely monitored and the doses used are approximately that which would be produced naturally by the human body. In the case of steroid use in sports, people tend to take mega dosages sometimes 10-100 times the dosage that would be administered for some medical conditions and often involving more than one type at a time. Most steroid users, and especially novice users, get their dosage instructions from the seller or from friends who take the drugs, more often without any questions as to the drugs effects, or correct dosages. Many steroids available on the black market are even of dubious quality and often only contain small amounts of the drug. Some of these drugs have even been reported to contain only water and a dye, or contain only normal peanut oil. Side Effects of Steroids Use
The side effects that steroids have on the body are many and can cause some serious side effects including cancers, but many sports users chose to ignore any information on side effects, even to the point of using the excuse of “its only the drugs abuse that causes side effects” but any drug that alters the homeostasis of the body will have an effect. Looking at the body in more detail we can look at how steroids can affect each different part of the body: Brain:
Studies have shown a pattern between high testosterone levels and aggressive behaviour, which is often seen as the users involved in violent acts. Often steroids have been used as an excuse for a person’s aggressive behaviour. High dose users have also been affected with psychotic syndromes and a high level of anxiety. Other effects that appear are, sleep disturbances, feelings of euphoria, high levels of paranoia, various stages of depression, with some users suffering extreme mood swings, and also changes in their personality. A large number of users become dependant on steroid use which then can lead to addiction. Face:
Steroid use results in high levels of water retention (oedema) leading to the user becoming “round faced” with puffy cheeks. In females reports have shown the effect of a growth of facial hair quite common, bad breath is quite a common effect as is the voice of females becoming husky by a deepening of the voice. Steroids also commonly affect the skin of the face and body by causing acne. Eyes:
Long term use of steroids can actually damage the eyes, resulting in eye infections,...
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