You’ve seen them, and you thought you knew what was going on. Themuscle-heads at the gym, the all-star basketball player, the amazing offensivetackle, and the lightning fast swimmer. All of them used steroids, and you knewit. They were all unnaturally strong, and looked like gods. But what you couldnot see is the terrible side effects which come through the use of anabolicsteroids.
These powerful drugs have both positive and negative results fromtheir use. Along with increased strength and size, users of steroids sufferfrom ailments like cancer, bad acne, hair loss, damaged organs and intense moodswings.Anabolic steroids are a group of muscle building chemicals, which aresynthetic versions of the male hormone, testosterone. Developed in 1935 theywere prescribed to aid in muscle and tissue repair by those who had undergonesurgery or had degenerative diseases. Now they are used by athletes andpatients alike. But they are illegal to use if not prescribed by a physician,and have been banned by nearly all athletic organizations, both professional andamateur.
When you think of someone who uses steroids you typically picturesomeone who is massive, and whose muscle mass is very well defined. A picturecomes to mind of the giant body builder, who is so big he can’t touch his backbecause his biceps are in the way, but he can manage to bench press his car.The possible growth and development is amazing. With much less work necessary,the results can be astounding. Athletes can get bigger, stronger and faster,with less effort than previous.
The limits of an athletes potential withsteroids seem to be unbounded. These are the positive aspects to the use ofsteroids. One study showed that as much as ten pounds of lean muscle mass couldbe gained by a mature adult using steroids over a years period. The resultingsize and strength increase would be greater more easily attained than withoutuse of steroids.
(Taylor pg 45) Also, the type of body structure that may malesare looking for can be easily obtained through the use of steroids. Largepectoral muscles, as well and big biceps and a well defined stomach are whatmany teenage users are after. Society dictates what the current trends are, andour society has dictated that athletic looking men (and women) are in. But noteveryone can be so fortunate to have a beautiful body with their given gene pool.So through the use of steroids, people can attain the wonderful body that theyso desire. One ex-user commented that after he had used steroids and bulked up,he was much more popular with the females, and got much more respect from hismale peers.(Deacon pg 52) Steroids are also used for therapeutic applicationsas well, although their use here is much less well known.
Steroids can be usedto promote healing in patients who have recently undergone surgery, they alsoimprove the appetite and increase protein production. They also help protectblood for producing bone marrow after radiation therapy. Also, steroids can beused to help treat skeletal disorders such as osteoporosis broken bones becausethey aid in the reconstruction of the bone matrix.(Goldman pg 201) The positiveeffects of steroids are quite obvious, and quite powerful.Unfortunately, the use of steroids tends to result in many damaging sideeffects in the users. The mournful stories of dominating athletes who usedsteroids, who are no longer great at their one time profession seems to dot thenewspaper pages quite regularly.
They always say that they realized too latethe damaging effects that the drugs had on their bodies. Steroids can have manydifferent and adverse reactions with the human body. Some effects are onlycosmetic: hair loss on the head, and a increase of hair on the back, chest andabdomen of males is sometimes present. Greater concentrations of acne has alsobeen traced to the use of steroids, as has gynecomastia, the development ofabnormal breast tissue in males, although this is much less frequent.(Yesalis pg115) More dangerous results are symptoms such as heart disease, impairedglucose tolerance, hypertension, liver toxicity, jaundice and tumors have allbeen linked to the use of anabolic steroids. Steroids tend to increase bloodpressure, which makes the heart pump harder, eventually weakening it. They alsoprevent the removal of cholesterol from the walls of veins, which can also havenegative effect on the body.
In the liver, elevated levels of bile can bepresent, as well as peliosis hepatis or blood pools in the liver. Also livercancer has been linked to the use of steroids. They can also cause tumor’s inthe kidney, known as Wilm’s tumor, which is another form of cancer. Also, theextended use of steroids can cause the tendons to lose their elasticity, andbegin to break or tear after extended use of steroids.(Goldman pg 131) Anotherproblem common to the use of steroids is a psychological phenomena commonlyknown as “‘roid rage”. This constitutes a more aggressively natured person, whois more subject to mood swings.
A typically calm, intelligent person could betransformed into a crazed senseless being. The slightest upsetting factor couldset them off. These mood swings and shifts tend to be temporary and cease afterdiscontinued use of the drugs, but some of the other effects are lasting, andcan be extremely devastating. Less harmful, but important as well is the factthat steroids are banned by nearly every athletic organization, and if it isdetermined that an athlete used steroids, all medals, trophies, prizes and glorycan be stripped away.
Athletes who train with the use of steroids are taking a huge gamble.Although steroids can have amazing results, and seem to be the greatest thing onearth, they also hold a cornucopia of terrible things in store for the personwho uses them irresponsibly. They must evaluate for themselves if the potentialphysical prowess that they could attain through the use of steroids is worth thepossibility of the devastating side effects.
They must also keep in mind theconsequences that they could encounter if they do use steroids, which are anillegal drug. Category: Science