Taking steroids is known to improve muscle strength and size and give a competitive edge to athletes who train with them. Users are usually impressed with the results of taking the drugs and with their slimmer, more-fit bodies. But there is a downside to taking steroidsÂ side effects that can cause serious damage to many of the bodies functions.
Like all drugs, steroids have two types of effects on the bodyÂ therapeutic effects and non-therapeutic effects. Therapeutic effects of steroids are the desired effects of taking steroidsÂ a leaner physic, larger and stronger muscles. Non-therapeutic effects are the unwanted side effects of steroids that can cause damage to the body. Anyone considering using steroids should learn about these side effects and their dangers because many of them can be irreversible, even fatal if the steroids are used improperly.
There are many precautions steroid users can take to minimize the side effects associated with steroid use. Proper dosage, the right physical training, a planned recovery and the use of certain supplements to counteract side effects can make steroid use safer and less harmful.
In fact, there is some debate to just how harmful steroids are when properly used. Most studies on steroids side effects were conducted at a time when users were unaware of their dangers and tended to take much larger amounts of the drugs than were needed and supplements to counteract the side effects weren’t yet developed. Also, the steroids themselves were not as advanced as ones available today. According to Jerald Bain of the University of Toronto, many of the side effects associated with steroids, like liver damage and heart problems, are related to the classical anabolic agents 17-alkylated steroids. He points out, however, that these steroids are not pure testosterone, the basis for steroids, and that increased levels of testosterone in the body show no signs of causing these harmful side effects, and may in fact be helpful to the body.
As the science of steroids improves, there may be a time when their use will be safe. But for now, their side effects should be looked upon with serious consideration before using any kind of steroid. The following are some of the known side effects of steroids:
Liver damage Steroids contain toxins that the liver cleanses from the body, which may lead to cysts or tumors.
Kidney damage Kidneys also help cleanse the body of toxins, and although it is rare, steroid use may lead to kidney damage.
Cardiovascular problems Steroids affect the cardiovascular system in many ways. Steroids can raise cholesterol levels in the body, which can lead to blocked arteries around the heart or blood clots throughout the body, including the brain. Also, steroid use can lead to cardiomyopathy where the heart muscle grows larger and weaker and is unable to pump blood throughout the body. Finally, steroid use can lead to high blood pressure, which is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes.
Problems with the reproductive system Steroid use affect the reproductive systems of both men and women. In men, high doses of steroid lead to infertility while they are using steroids. Also, steroid use may cause men to develop female characteristics such as loss of body hair, decreased size of testicles and they may also develop larger breasts. In women, the use of steroids may lead to male characteristics like facial hair and loss of scalp hair. Steroids also alter a woman’s menstrual cycle and make them unable to become pregnant while using steroids.
Stunted skeletal growth Testosterone is the body’s chemical messenger that slows growth of bones during puberty. Adolescents who use steroids can seriously stunt their growth and become less developed than they would be without using steroids.
Skin problems The toxins in steroids when excreted through glands in the skin cause users to suffer from acne.
Psychological problems Steroid use can affect peoples moods in a variety of ways. Some users report a high from taking steroids, which is often followed by a low. Long-term use without the proper recovery plan can lead to serious depression. Also, many users report heightened feelings of aggression, a state that is now coined as roid rage.