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Steroids - A Closer Look
By: Scott Becker
Steroids are a synthetically produced variant of testosterone, which is a hormone that naturally occurs in both males and females. Steroids were first developed to treat delayed puberty, some types of impotence, and wasting of the body caused by HIV or other infectious diseases. The abuse of steroids by body builders and other professional athletes began in the 1930s when scientists discovered that steroids stimulated muscle growth in lab animals.
Anabolic and androgenic are two effects of steroids. They are anabolic, meaning they promote cell growth within the body. They can increase protein synthesis from amino acids, appetite, bone remodeling and growth, and stimulated growth of bone marrow in the body. Increased bone marrow production can also lead to the increased production of red blood cells.
The androgenic characteristics mean that steroids directly affect the development of masculine characteristics, even when used in females. Steroids can lead to increased growth of androgen sensitive hair, increased vocal cord size, increased sebaceous gland oil production, increased sexuality, growth of reproductive organs and increased libido in both males and females.
Through both types of effects, steroids can stimulate the muscles, and result in increased muscle mass and size. This is mainly due to increased skeletal muscle size, caused by increased muscle proteins and a slower breaking down process. Increases in testosterone can also lead to decreased fat, making it easier to gain muscle mass over time.
Various professional sports players, ranging from football players to those participating in the Olympic Games have commonly used steroids. Steroids are no longer legal, and blood tests are used to confirm that athletes are not using steroids to gain muscle mass. Some individuals require excess testosterone due to their inability to produce it on their own and use steroids that are available by prescription only.
Steroids have been associated with a number of side effects, ranging from physical to mental changes. Extended steroid use can lead to long-term health problems such as cancer, cardiovascular problems, and elevated cholesterol levels, but many steroid related problems are reversible when the steroid use is stopped.
Some physical side effects that can result from steroid use include the development of breast tissue in men, excessive acne on the face, chest, and back, increased facial hair growth in both men and women, and a deepening of voice in both men and women.
Steroid use can also lead to several psychological effects, such as depression, reduced sex drive, loss of appetite, increased irritability, and aggression.
Because various sports players have been caught using illegal steroids, many teens are starting to believe that steroid use isn't as bad as it seems. Because men and women who are thought of as role models are using sports nutrition enhancing drugs, many middle and high school students who are involved in sports are following in their foot steps. At least two percent of high school students have admitted to steroid use in their lifetime, and many admitted that they were fairly easy to obtain.
Because young people are not properly educated on steroid use, many are getting involved in the trend and finding themselves unable to stop. With help from schools and parents, children can learn about the dangers that steroids can cause, even when only used for a short period of time.
Scott Becker is an expert in the fields of health and nutrition. He has been writing on numerous topics for the past 10 years. Along with writing, he now owns http://www.scottbeckerlive.com , a sports nutrition company serving the weekend athlete. For more information go to http://healthfitnessvitamins.com
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