Anabolic steroids are man-made substances that are meant to promote the growth of muscles and the development of male sexual characteristic though lately they have been used by women too (Roberts 1). They are simply synthetic hormones that support body growth and repair damaged body tissues since they have great potential to build up proteins in the human body. Medically, steroids have been used to treat impotence and to enhance puberty in case of its delay.
They can also be used to treat anemia and body wasting in patients with AIDS. However, anabolic steroids have been widely used to improve performance in athletics and in the common competitive bodybuilding. This is on the basis that they have the ability to increase growth of muscles and reduce body fats.
Effects of anabolic steroids
Both men and women using anabolic steroids benefit by having reduced body fats which help in preventing the body from diseases such as blood pressure and heart failure. Another benefit, which actually is the reason why many people use steroids, is an increase in body muscles and consequently, body strength. In most cases, users of steroids have increased self- esteem and they seem to experience high sexual arousal especially women users.
A very important benefit of steroids is the improvement of nitrogen utilization in the body which enhances a nitrogen balance as a result of catabolic processes that occur during exercising. The concentration of plasma amino acids are increased which subsequently, increases the synthesis of proteins in the body (Kennard 1).
The negative effects of using steroids depend on the amount taken, extent of use and the nature of steroid used. According to a number of doctors, steroids create chemical imbalances in the body and for the body to recover balance, it holds water and this results to excessive bloating. The extra fluid raises the blood pressure which may lead to heart attack and stroke. Research on hospitalized patients has shown that steroids can lead to the failure of kidney and the liver or even cause cancer of the liver (Dixon 1).
As steroids are mostly associated with male characteristics, there are serious side effects on them compared to women. The most feared effect is erectile dysfunction and impotence especially to the young people which causes a fall in sperm count. Male users may develop breasts which is an irreversible condition while in cases of high dosage the testicles may shrink (Roberts 1).
A lot of data indicates that anabolic steroids affect the immune system. Some supplements such as testosterone have been shown to suppress the immune system. In other cases the body depends on steroid derivatives to recover from certain illnesses and absence of these derivatives renders the body unable to offer protection against diseases (Kennard 1).
Women are in more danger of steroids because of the high levels of testosterone which is meant to promote masculinity. They may bald, deepen their voice or grow excess hair including a moustache (Dixon 1). According to some doctors, unborn babies may too develop male traits such as extra hair and are vulnerable to deformations or being handicapped.
The major cause of negative side effects of steroids is misuse of the drugs especially on the amount taken. It is important for users to use only the recommended quantity to avoid these effects. Steroids are very dangerous drugs especially when used inappropriately and should, therefore, be used under and according to medical directions. An example of a victim of steroids is Chris Benoit who killed his family under the influence of steroids.
Dixon, Patrick. “Why steroids are so powerful and so dangerous if abused.” 2009. Web.
Kennard. “Anabolic Steroids: Use and Abuse.” 2006. Web.
Roberts, Anthony. “Side Effects of Steroids.” 2009. Web.