The Effects of Anabolic Steroids


You\'ve seen them, and you thought you knew what was going on. The
muscle-heads at the gym, the all-star basketball player, the amazing offensive
tackle, and the lightning fast swimmer. All of them used steroids, and you knew
it. They were all unnaturally strong, and looked like gods. But what you could
not see is the terrible side effects which come through the use of anabolic
steroids. These powerful drugs have both positive and negative results from
their use. Along with increased strength and size, users of steroids suffer
from ailments like cancer, bad acne, hair loss, damaged organs and intense mood
swings.
Anabolic steroids are a group of muscle building chemicals, which are
synthetic versions of the male hormone, testosterone. Developed in 1935 they
were prescribed to aid in muscle and tissue repair by those who had undergone
surgery or had degenerative diseases. Now they are used by athletes and
patients alike. But they are illegal to use if not prescribed by a physician,
and have been banned by nearly all athletic organizations, both professional and
amateur.
When you think of someone who uses steroids you typically picture
someone who is massive, and whose muscle mass is very well defined. A picture
comes to mind of the giant body builder, who is so big he can\'t touch his back
because 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 with
steroids seem to be unbounded. These are the positive aspects to the use of
steroids. One study showed that as much as ten pounds of lean muscle mass could
be gained by a mature adult using steroids over a years period. The resulting
size and strength increase would be greater more easily attained than without
use of steroids.(Taylor pg 45) Also, the type of body structure that may males
are looking for can be easily obtained through the use of steroids. Large
pectoral muscles, as well and big biceps and a well defined stomach are what
many teenage users are after. Society dictates what the current trends are, and
our society has dictated that athletic looking men (and women) are in. But not
everyone 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 they
so 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 his
male peers.(Deacon pg 52) Steroids are also used for therapeutic applications
as well, although their use here is much less well known. Steroids can be used
to promote healing in patients who have recently undergone surgery, they also
improve the appetite and increase protein production. They also help protect
blood for producing bone marrow after radiation therapy. Also, steroids can be
used to help treat skeletal disorders such as osteoporosis broken bones because
they aid in the reconstruction of the bone matrix.(Goldman pg 201) The positive
effects of steroids are quite obvious, and quite powerful.
Unfortunately, the use of steroids tends to result in many damaging side
effects in the users. The mournful stories of dominating athletes who used
steroids, who are no longer great at their one time profession seems to dot the
newspaper pages quite regularly. They always say that they realized too late
the damaging effects that the drugs had on their bodies. Steroids can have many
different and adverse reactions with the human body. Some effects are only
cosmetic: hair loss on the head, and a increase of hair on the back, chest and
abdomen of males is sometimes present. Greater concentrations of acne has also
been traced to the use of steroids, as has gynecomastia, the development of
abnormal breast tissue in males, although this is much less frequent.(Yesalis pg
115) More dangerous results are symptoms such as heart disease, impaired
glucose tolerance, hypertension, liver toxicity, jaundice and tumors have all
been linked to the use of anabolic steroids. Steroids tend to increase blood
pressure, which makes the heart pump harder, eventually weakening it. They also
prevent the removal of cholesterol from the walls of veins, which can also have
negative effect on the body. In the liver, elevated levels of bile can be
present, as well as peliosis hepatis or blood pools in the liver. Also