The term steroid refers to a broad class of drugs structurally related to cholesterol. Anabolic/androgenic steroids are derivatives of the male hormone testosterone. They are often abused by athletes in the hopes of increasing muscle size and improving athletic performance. Although there are legitimate medical uses for anabolic steroids, the non-medical use is extremely dangerous to oneís health. The American College of Sports Medicine states that anabolic steroids does not of itself bring about any significant improvements in strength, aerobic endurance, lean body mass, or body weight.
Donít confuse anabolic steroids with steroid medication often prescribed by physicians in the treatment of asthma and other upper respiratory illnesses. These steroid preparations help to reduce inflammation in the airways of the lungs and DO NOT pose the same health risks as anabolic steroids.
Anabolic steroids mimic the natural hormone that controls the development of masculine characteristics in adult males. The hormone is also present in small quantities of females. Anabolic steroid use may overload the body with testosterone and adversely affect the hypothalamus gland in the brain.
Three major classes of anabolic steroids are:
- Oral tablets
- Injectable, oil-based liquids
- Injectable, water-based liquids
Most injectable steroids are stored in body fat and remain there for weeks. As long as they are in the body, they exert their damaging effects and often cause irreversible health problems.
- Stunt growth
- Increase cholesterol
- Increase blood pressure
- Strokes, coronary heart disease
- Heart enlargement
- Liver cancer; chronic hepatitis
- Fluid retention
- Loss of endurance
- Infertility; low sperm count
- Testicular shrinkage
- Testicular/prostate cancer
- Enlarged breast tissue
- High-pitched voice
- Deep voice
- Irregular menses
- Shrinkage of breast tissue
- Altered mood and behavior
- Increases aggressiveness
- Temper tantrums