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Many people are using steroids today to significantly enhance their size strength and athletic performance. Many people however don't realize the drawbacks of using steroids. Some users have even had their lives ruined by the irreversible effects of illegal steroids, yet the desired effects are so overwhelming that people tend to overlook the consequences. Steroid users believe taking anabolic steroids will enhance their performance, strength, size and appearance. Steroids are illegal to use without a prescription yet are not hard to get a hold of. They are used by athletes of all kinds and all ages, and are becoming an increasingly large fad that people need to think more carfully about.

The term "anabolic " means "to build tissue," therefore anabolic steroids tend to increase constructive metabolic pathways within the body. Also, anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of the natural male sex hormone, testosterone. Testosterone was the first steroid developed, a natural occurring hormone in many plants and animals. The first clinical use of testosterone occurred in 1958 when physicians injected it into underweight and sick patients to stimulate weight gain. The first reported use of steroids in a non-medical setting occurred during World War II. Steroids were administered by Nazi doctors into German soldiers to enhance their aggressiveness. The Soviet Union noted the Nazis' use of the drug and recognized that enhanced aggressiveness, increasing in strength, and size could be desirable in athletic competition. The Soviets experimented with steroids in the early 1950's and it is believed that they were used in the 1952 Olympic games.

Steroids can be taken two ways, orally or injected. Many athletes prefer oral because it has a less likely chance to show up on drug tests. Injecting steroids leaves one at a higher risk for serious infections such as HIV and Hepatitis B.

Anabolic steroids are all derivatives of the male sex hormone testosterone. With the use of steroids a person will receive two types of effects from the use. The first is the androgenic effects or masculinizing. These are the unwanted effects such as the enlarging of the prostate, growth of male sex glands, deepening of the voice, and increased facial hair (other steroids were developed in an attempt to separate these effects of testosterone from the anabolic). The other effect is anabolic effects, the wanted effects. There are three major benefits that are wanted from steroid use and they are: First athletes will attain a greater increase in lean muscle mass and strength when it is used with a combination of rigorous training and the drug. The second major benefit of the steroid use is that the athlete's body suffers less breakdown. This decrease in muscle breakdown and recovery time permits more frequent training sessions at higher intensity and for longer periods of time. The third benefit is the increased aggresiveness they are

believed to simulate. This increased aggresssiveness may drive athletes to train harder and longer without the usual fatigue. Other positive effects of using steroids is increases in; storage of muscle glycogen, blood volume, a general boasting of the immune system, and the reduction of body fat percentage. The effects are maintained as long as the athlete continues the steroid use.

Anabolic steroids also have a number of potentially harmful side effects. The main parts of the body affected by steroids are the liver, cardiovascular system and reproductive system. Liver tumors and abnormal liver functions have been noted in patients using anabolic steroids. Liver, prostate, and testicular cancer have been linked to steroid use, particularly oral steroids. Increases in high density cholesterol is noted in people using steroids, hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, and blood-clotting disorders. Also, athletes using steroids seem to be suffering many more muscle and tendon injuries. This is believed to be because of the heavy weight that is being lifted which the muscles can handle but the tendons can't. Tendon strength does not increase with muscle strength. Some think the increased aggressiveness causes lifters to ignore warning signals from an overworked body and they train harder than they should.

In adult women, severe irreversable masculinity effects have been documented including hair growth on the cheeks and the chin, male pattern baldness, irreversible deepening of the voice, shrinkage of the breast size, uterine atrophy, and menstrual irregularities. In pre-adults, anabolic steroids can cause the premature closure of the bone growth plates resulting in shorter structures.




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