Medical Issues Associated with Anabolic Steroid Use: Are They Exaggerated?
Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. Login or Sign up. We're all familiar with the pictures of body builders, teeming with muscle, looking like they'll nearly burst through their skin.
Or the athletes that seem unstoppable--lifting more and running faster than we can imagine. We also probably recall what happens next for a select few of these all-stars: One type of drug frequently used are anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are drugs that are man made versions of testosterone , a male hormone that affects the whole body.
The word 'anabolic' refers to a type of metabolism in the body which builds structures, like muscle. Catabolism, on the other hand, is the type of metabolism that breaks down materials in the body for energy. Thus, anabolic steroids are compounds that increase the production of muscle. Although some people take anabolic steroids as a prescription to help with certain conditions that involve muscle degeneration, other people take steroids illegally as a performance enhancing drug.
Today we'll talk about the consequences and dangers of taking anabolic steroids without a prescription. Hormones, like testosterone, are very important for our reproductive organs as well as the rest of our organs. They send important messages around our body. If we have too much or too little, the messages in our body are messed up and our bodies start to change. In males and females, too much testosterone from anabolic steroids can have serious consequences.
In males, taking anabolic steroids increases levels of testosterone to many times what they would normally be. When testosterone is high, levels of gonadotropin hormones like luteinizing hormone LH and follicle-stimulating hormone FSH are low. These hormones regulate the testes and sperm production, so if these hormones drop, the testes in males decrease in size and less sperm are made.
In addition, the extra testosterone is converted to estrogen, causing breast development in males. In females, testosterone levels are naturally much lower than males.
These hormones regulate ovulation, or release of eggs, and the menstrual cycle. Females on anabolic steroids can experience infertility and a disrupted menstrual cycle.
Other male characteristics start to appear in females who take anabolic steroids, like hair loss, baldness, decreased breast tissue, and deepening of their voice. Anabolic steroids also have an impact on other organ systems in both sexes. Cells in the cardiovascular system, like the heart and blood vessels are also affected by testosterone. Anabolic steroid users have higher blood pressure, lower levels of good cholesterol, higher levels of bad cholesterol, and heart problems.
Specifically, the left ventricle, the area of the heart that pumps blood to the body, thickens and can lead to problems pumping blood and eventually a heart attack. The kidneys are also affected by steroid use.
Your kidneys are important for cleaning your blood and getting rid of toxins. Body builders that have been taking steroids for at least 8 years were found to have a rare disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which damages the part of the kidney needed to filter blood.
This disease can progress into renal failure, with patients needing a kidney transplant. As a hormone, testosterone also affects the brain. Use of anabolic steroids causes an increase in aggression.
Some users report an increase in violent behavior, even robbery, rape, or burglary, although this depends on the person as well as the type of steroid being taken.
Get FREE access for 5 days, just create an account. Users are also in danger of becoming addicted to steroids. When a person stops taking steroids, all the positive effects of muscle gain and increased energy decrease.
Since the person was taking so much extra testosterone, the body stopped making it itself. So, then the person stops taking the steroids, the body isn't making testosterone, so there isn't enough for the body to function properly.
The person will subsequently experience withdrawal symptoms, like decreased energy, mood swings, depression and an increased craving for steroids. There has been an increase in teen use of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs over the years. With societal values of athleticism and the rewards that can result, such as college scholarships, teens are under pressure to perform.
Some have resorted to anabolic steroids to accomplish their goals. Teen brains and bodies are still developing, so steroids have more long term consequences than they do in adults.
Steroids can permanently stunt growth, cause liver problems, heart problems and create intense mood swings. Anabolic steroids are man made versions of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is a male sex hormone that regulates reproductive organs as well as other parts of the body. Taking anabolic steroids can decrease testicle size, decrease sperm count and induce breast formation in males.
In females it can disrupt the menstrual cycle and cause infertility as well as development of male sex characteristics. Heart problems like high blood pressure and weakening of the heart are also problems. Kidney damage also occurs, and in teens the affects can be long lasting. To unlock this lesson you must be a Study. Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2, colleges and universities.
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In this lesson we'll explain what anabolic steroids are and why people take them. Then we'll get into the dangers of using these drugs and what consequences they can have on your health.
What Are Anabolic Steroids? Lance Armstrong was a world class athlete that admitted to using anabolic steroids in Reproductive Problems Hormones, like testosterone, are very important for our reproductive organs as well as the rest of our organs.
Males In males, taking anabolic steroids increases levels of testosterone to many times what they would normally be. Extra testosterone is converted to estrogen Females In females, testosterone levels are naturally much lower than males.
Problems with the Heart and Kidney Anabolic steroids also have an impact on other organ systems in both sexes. The left ventricle can thicken with excessive anabolic steroid use leading to cardiovascular disease The kidneys are also affected by steroid use. A new kidney may need to be transplanted to replace diseased kidneys during extended anabolic steroid use Changes to the Brain As a hormone, testosterone also affects the brain. Want to learn more? Select a subject to preview related courses: Risks in Teens There has been an increase in teen use of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs over the years.
Teens can be lured into taking steroids when they feel pressured to excel at sports Lesson Summary Anabolic steroids are man made versions of the hormone testosterone. Register for a free trial Are you a student or a teacher? I am a student I am a teacher.