Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids

Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids

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  1. Body builders, weightlifters and professional athletes use steroids to increase strength and improve performance. Most steroids are illegal due to the unfair advantage they give to athletes who use them. There are two types of steroids. The first, catabolic steroids, break down larger compounds so the body can use them for fuel. Cortisol is an example of a catabolic steroid. It breaks down glycogen into smaller units of glucose.

    The steroids used by athletes are known as anabolic androgenic steroids. They act much like testosterone within the body. Anabolic steroids increase the body’s ability to manufacture protein to build muscle, bone and tissue, according to Medicinenet.com. The word androgenic means it enhances male traits that can develop with prolonged use.

    Athletes who take anabolic steroids do so to increase muscle mass and push their body past normal limits. Steroids are illegal, not only because they give athletes a distinct advantage, but also because they are dangerous if misused or abused. Taken for extended periods of time, steroids can be addicting, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

    Misuse of anabolic androgenic steroids include fluid retention, liver damage, jaundice and increases in both "bad" cholesterol and high blood pressure.

    Side effects in men range from breast development, shrinking of the testicles and decreased sperm count and infertility. Women who take steroids can begin to develop male characteristics such as increased growth in facial and body hair, deepened voice and male patterned baldness. Menstrual periods can also be affected. In some cases, they may stop altogether.

    Teenagers who attempt to bulk up with steroids may experience severe cases of acne. Puberty is sometimes accelerated and their growth may be permanently stunted.

    The risk of certain types of infections like hepatitis and HIV/AIDS increases when steroids are injected intravenously. Prolonged use of anabolic steroids can lead to various types of psychosis, including mania, hallucinations and delusional behavior, according to Medicinet.com.

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