Steroids What are Steroids There are three major divisions of steroids: corticosteroids, estrogens and progestogens, androgens. Corticosteroids are found in both prescription and non-prescription cremes that are used to control rashes and itches. These two common trade names are Cortaid and Lanacort. This form of steroid is not to be thought of as having addictive properties. The second forms of steroids are estrogens and progestogens. These forms of steroids are female sex hormones that promote sexual development and help to maintain a healthy reproductive system. The third forms of steroids are androgens. These are the male hormones called testosterone, which lead to secondary sexual characteristics and also help to maintain the male reproductive system. These specific forms have been labeled a highly addictive and are frequently abused, they are referred to as anabolic steroids. History of Steroids Until the year 1935 scientists never knew that testosterone steroids were associated with an increase in muscle production. During the next two years scientists found through research with dogs that in certain circumstances steroids had an increase on muscle mass production. The recent observations that steroids were associated with muscle mass production and strength came in 1954 with Olympic weight lifters. In 1956, Dianabol (Methandrostenolone) was first marketed in the United States clearing the way for athletic use of anabolic steroids. At first only world class Olympians used steroids, and these athletes were involved in strength oriented competitions such as weight lifting. It was not until 1964 that steroids were recognized as being a problem within athletes. Both athletes and trainers during this time period were using these steroids in high doses and as well in dangerous combinations that were not supported by scientific research. This form of anabolic steroid abuse was spread through the athletic community openly through articles and conversation. Even in scientific research today scientists have never tested high doses of steroids used in multiple steroid combinations. How Are Steroids Used There are two ways for anabolic steroids to be taken into the body, both orally and injected. Oral steroids are highly potent and are excreted fairly rapidly from the body due to short metabolic half-lives (usually within weeks). So, oral steroids are the first choice from athletes who want to rapidly improve their performance and try to escape from the drug tests. Unhappily, these drugs are the most toxic and which have more side effects. Injecting a steroid is less potent and generally exhibits delayed uptake into the body, especially if they are oil-based dilettantes. They have less liver toxicity than oral steroids, but athletes, in having detectability in drug tests for long periods are less using them. Generical Name Commercial Name Administration Retail Price Black-Market Price Oxymetholone Andral Oral $90/100 TABS $300/100 TABS Testosterone Cypionate Depo-Testosterone Injectable $35/10mL $200/10mL Stanazolol Winstrol V Injectable $250/30mL $400/30mL Boldenone Equipoise Injectable $150/30mL $450/30mL Oxandrolone Anavar Oral $75/100 TABS $150/100 TABS Methoanrostenolone Dianabol Oral $100/100 TABS $200/100 TABS Effects of Steroid Use The exact numbers can never reflect the actual instances of the negative side effects associated with anabolic steroid usage. It has become apparent that anabolic/androgenic steroid usage has negative effects on the following systems of the body: liver and cardiovascular, central nervous, muculoskeletal, endocrine, and reproductive systems. The chart below shows each of the side effects in respect to the system that is effected, as well as if the effects are permanent or just temporary. SYSTEM ADVERSE EFFECT REVERSIBILITY Cardiovascular Increased LDL Cholesterol Yes Decreased HDL Cholesterol Yes Hypertension Yes Elevated Triglycerides Yes Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease No Reproductive-Male Testicular Atrophy Yes Gynecomastia Possible Impaired Spermatogenesis Yes Altered Libido Yes Male Pattern Baldness No Reproductive-Female Menstrual Dysfunction Yes Altered Libido Yes Clitoral Enlargement No Deepening Voice No Male Pattern Baldness No Hepatic Elevated Liver Enzymes Yes Jaundice Yes Hepatic Tumors No Peliosis Hepatis No Endocrine Altered Glucose Tolerance Yes Decreased FSH, LH Yes Acne Yes Musculoskeletal Premature Epiphyseal Closure No Tendon Degeneration Unknown Central Nervous Mood Swings Yes Violent Behavior Yes Depression Yes Psycoses Yes As well as there being negative side effects, there are great benefits of taking steroids. Steroids have been used for several years for the treatment of asthma, used in order to strengthen the lungs and the diaphragm. Steroids have been studied and are now being used in the treatment of Lupus. Corticosteroids are extremely effective anti-inflammatory agents and can be very helpful in treating active lupus, despite their significant side effects. As far as anabolic and androgenic steroid usage, there is one common effect that is sought and achieved, muscle gain. These athletes and body builders are seeking more muscle mass to either achieve greater strength, faster reaction or more definition. Several strength sports do not condone this usage, and the majority of the athletic organizations have banned the use of them, as well as testing for their presence in competing athletes, such as the NCAA and the Olympics. The effects are great in the final results, but are the costs greater than the reward or benefit, that is for you to decide. How to Identify Anabolic Steroid Use Characteristic signs and symptoms can help to identify steroid abusers. None of these signs or symptoms is exclusive to steroid abuse, but the presence of one or more symptoms must alert the physician to steroid abuse. A list of common signs and symptoms is given below: 1. Rapid weigh gain 2. Alterations in body composition with marked muscular hypertrophy 3. Disproportionate development of upper torso 4. Severe acne 5. Needle marks in large muscle groups 6. Development of male pattern baldness 7. Gynecomastia 8. Increased susceptibility to tendon injuries 9. Jaundice 10. Edema 11. Elevated blood pressure 12. Hirsutism 13. Atrophied breast in females 14. Deepening of the voice in females The use of anabolic steroids offers advantages and improved performance only for anaerobic sports, opposed to aerobic or skilled sports. In anaerobic sports are concentrate the great use of steroids, and are the ones which the physician should be very attempt to identify abusers. Statistically, football, wrestling, weight lifting, swimming, body building, shot put, discus, javelin throwing, and some track and field events are the primary sports for steroids users. Alternatives to Steroid Use There are several products on the market that are called safe steroids that have no adverse side effects, but those alternatives will not be documented here due to there lack of evidence and scientific research. There are products that you can purchase from health food stores and nutrition catalogs that boost both your metabolism and aid in the production of muscle mass. Creatine has been linked to great achievements both in strength and speed, as well as having greater ability to increase muscle mass and density. I have personally taken creatine, twice actually, and the results that I achieved were outstanding. The other products that are available are nutritional supplements as well, such as: Designer Protein, Shock Treatments, and a mixture of Creatine and Androphene, such as the one used by the home run record hitter Mark McGuire. But the best bet you can make is to do it naturally, by eating a good diet with a well-balanced structure of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. A well maintained body performs at peak performance, when that same body is being abused its efficiency level reduces dramatically. IF you drink alcohol and coffee, smoke cigarettes, abuse drugs and have an overall neglect for your body then the effects of steroids will not be enough to counteract all the other influences of the abuse you are putting your body through. So do it naturally, with a high standard for your personal level of wellness and body awareness. Combine natural foods and supplements and a strict workout plan and you should see great results as well. References: 1.Steroid Drug Information Database: General Information about Steroids 2.Yesalis CE, Wright JE, Bahrke MS. Epidemiological and policy issues in the measurement of the long-term health effects of anabolic-androgenic steroids. Sports Medicine 1989 Sep; 8(3): 129-38. 3.Wagner JC. Abuse of drugs used to enhance athletic performance. American Journal of Hospital Pharmacy 1989 Oct; 46:2059-67. 4. Scott MJ, Scott MJ. HIV infection associated with injections of anabolic steroids. J Am Med. Assoc. 1989 Jul; 262(2): 207-8. 5. Robert S. Katz, M.D.: Associate Professor, Rush Medical College Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center: Chicago, Illinois 6. Yesalis CE, Wright JE, Bahrke MS. Epidemiological and policy issues in the measurement of the long-term health effects of anabolic-androgenic steroids. Sports Medicine 1989 Sep; 8(3): 129-38. 7. Wagner JC. Abuse of drugs used to enhance athletic performance. American Journal of Hospital Pharmacy 1989 Oct; 46:2059-67. 8. Use of Anabolic/Androgenic Steroids by Athletes Med.-Students-Sports Medicine

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