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Body – in today’s times is considered as more of a display than a vehicle that carries one through the span of life. Many people mostly amongst the young generation, resort to measures to modify one’s body to fit into the realm of fashion today. Body as an image today has become so deeply engraved in our minds, that people resort to methods and measures that cause serious effects to our body – one of them being the use/abuse leading to side effects of steroids.
Steroids (Anabolic) are used for muscle building and also for medicinal purposes – but this kind is cortico-steroids which is used to reduce swelling and dampen overactive immune responses. People with diseases like AIDS have to be prescribed with steroids (Anabolic), which helps in increasing muscle mass. Also in case of testicular cancers, malfunction of the pituitary gland and cancer – steroids are prescribed.
Steroids basically are nothing but synthetic versions of the hormone testosterone. Both the male and the female body, naturally produces this hormone in regulated quantities which regulates the body’s most basic functions, thus, if it goes out of balance in one’s body – it can cause a variety of effects on our body.
Side Effects of Steroids
Steroids lead to an increase in levels of cholesterol in the body, which leads to the clogging of blood vessels which in turn can also lead to strokes. Prolonged use can lead to an increase in the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease in the level of good cholesterol (HDL).Blood pressure increases and so do blood clots in the arteries leading to the heart – causing heart attacks. Thus, a substance used to increase muscle weight that elevates one’s image, in turn can cause serious problems, even death.
The use of this toxic product can lead to increase in stress of the kidneys, causing an imbalance in the electrolytes. This leads to increase in the swelling of the lower legs and ankles and can thus, lead to kidney problems. Sometimes, steroids coupled with weight training can lead to kidney stones, thus leading to the blockage of the urinary tract, causing urine problems.
Generally effects females due to the increase in the amounts of testosterone in the body. Facial hair, growth of body hair, change of skin texture, increased acne, baldness are some of the common side effects of steroids. Apart from the above it deepens voice, leads to breast reduction, and can also cause infertility. Other side effects include disrupted menstrual cycles and enlargement of the clitoris.
Premature closure of growth rate is a very common side effect of using steroids. Especially in the teens or in young challenging sportspersons who resort to use of steroids at a very early age. It impairs bone growth leading in shorter height during adulthood. Bone pain is also a common side effect.
The side effect is mainly noticed in men, due to increase in the levels of testosterone in the body which gets converted into the female hormone Estrogen. This leads to formation of breasts, low sperm count, low libido, shrunken testes, soft muscle mass, and impotence.
Women’s skin is sensitive and this is more so especially in case of women. Growth of large pores and acne problems are the most common of all side effects observed due to abuse of steroids in women. Due to rapid weight gain and muscle growth, stretch marks develop and steroids make them permanent and prominent on one’s body. Apart from this, the face becomes puffy. The most dreading of all is jaundice which can be cause due to abuse of steroids.
Sharing of needle – the most common problem observed amongst addicts leads to serious problems – blood poisoning and many other infections. The site of injection if swollen requires medical intervention and can lead of abscess.
Increased use of steroids means high levels of testosterone- and medical studies link this directly with the brain leading to aggressive behavior, provoking the users into violent acts in most cases. High levels of anxiety and psychotic behavior is also a common observation amongst steroid users. Depression, sleeplessness, feelings of euphoria, paranoia and extreme mood swings and changes in one’s overall personality are some of the other side effects of using steroids. A large number of people become dependent on steroids which can lead to addiction.
Increase in the levels of testosterone and it being converted into Estrogen leads to the testes drifting from their normal functioning. High doses can even lead into the testes ceasing production of sperms. Long term use can lead to painful erections and even in the loss of erections altogether. If the supplementary testosterone is stopped, it will take the testes some time to identify the same and begin production of testosterone.
Use of steroids can lead to irreversible liver damage, cancers and tumors. Oral steroids are difficult for the liver to metabolize, and as the function of the liver is to aid food digestion, it weakens its ability to do so, leading to decrease in the ability of the liver to clear waste products. Some types of steroids lead to adverse liver functioning. Jaundice – as discussed above is a side effect of using steroids is caused as the liver loses its ability to filter blood effectively leading to abnormal liver functioning.
Muscle and tendon rupture
The use of steroids makes a person feel stronger than they actually are, thereby making a person lift heavier weights thereby, causing muscle tears. The muscle gets stronger more rapidly than its actual strength posing a possibility of tendon rupture.
Long term use of steroids can lead to damage of eyes, leading in eye infections, cataracts and glaucoma.
Thus, people who resort to use of steroids for their looks or as a means to train harder – my say to them is that it only aids superficially. The flip side of it is very high and can cause life altering effects, some even irreversible. So, if you really desire for a body that’s muscular or want to become an athlete, work hard for it and stay away from steroids.