At the recent Commonwealth Games, a lot of players were found guilty of using steroids; why is there so much hype about steroids? Are they really a catastrophe or just a catastrophic gimmick? Let’s dwell deep into the matter. Not every type of steroids is injurious to health except synthetic steroids which directly affect the testosterone of a person which is produced by both men and women.
What Are Steroids: Drug Profile
Steroids are organic compounds that may have dramatic effects on the body. Every now and then, the use of steroids by sportspeople and athletes makes the headlines of the news. Steroids are referred to as hormones produced naturally in the body or consumed externally (taken up orally or by injections) to stimulate and maintain various activities in the body. Steroids are sometimes prescribed by doctors in the treatment of certain specific medical conditions.
Generally, these are prescribed when no other medication works or the situation is too critical to handle. Many steroids are either banned without prescription from the physician or are banned in the area for human consumption. But not all steroids are harmful. Also, it depends upon the quantity and quality of the drug consumed.
Types of Steroids: Corticosteroids and Anabolic Steroids
Contrary to popular belief, not all steroids are artificial. There are two types of steroids:
• Anabolic steroids
Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are produced within the adrenal gland (that is located above the kidneys). These include the following hormones:
Aldosterone: Aldosterone is secreted by the adrenal gland and regulates the balance of salt and water in the body. Also, it has some effects on fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Aldosterone is derived from cholesterol in the body.
Cortisol: Cortisol is another type of corticosteroid hormone released by the body in response to stress. Its main functions include performing gluconeogenesis (and thus, increasing blood sugar), boosting metabolic activities, and suppressing the immune system.
Anabolic steroids: Better known as anabolic-androgenic steroids, these are synthetic steroids that act like testosterone in the body. These are mainly consumed to regulate the levels of testosterone in the testicles and ovaries. Naturally regulated by the pituitary gland (present at the base of the brain), testosterone is immensely essential for the proper growth of male sexual characteristics, and, its deficiency is fulfilled by these synthetic steroids, which is why these are immensely popular amongst the masses. However, many of these anabolic steroids are not approved for human consumption by the Food and Drug Authority of the United States and are thus banned in the country for human consumption.
Benefits of Using Steroids
•Improved strength: Steroids improve body strength and stamina by multiple folds.
•Growth and fat-loss: The ability of anabolic drugs to bind to the receptors is even higher than that of testosterone. And because of this ability, these promote growth and the fat-burning process in the body of their consumers. In fact, many steroids boost direct fat-burning processes in the body.
• Anti-catabolic effects: Steroids have anti-catabolic effects and thus, they decrease the rate of protein reduction in the muscle cells, causing an enlargement of muscle cells as a result. This fact is extremely advantageous to bodybuilders, which is the reason why these drugs are so popular amongst them for balancing the catabolic phase.
•Reduce body weight: If you are on a dose of anabolic steroids, you may witness major weight loss and that too in record time. These drugs have incredible abilities to reduce body weight by reducing down the fats from the body in very little time.
•Relief from stress: Cortisol has miraculous abilities to relieve one from stress.
•Cure to many ailments: Steroids provide a cure for many serious ailments to which no other medication is available.
•Improved protein synthesis: Steroids have brilliant abilities to improve protein synthesis in the body, which is why these are immensely popular amongst bodybuilders (although their consumption by them is illegal).
Think Before You Use!
Although there are numerous advantages of consuming these steroids, their side- effects are the reasons they are banned for use without a prescription. Thus, one needs to carefully consume steroids (especially artificial ones).
Here is a list of probable side effects one may have while consuming these drugs:
• Effect on cholesterol levels: These increase the levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and decrease the levels of HDL ( the good cholesterol ). If you already have mismanaged cholesterol levels, try avoiding these drugs. So, if you are on a dose of these drugs, keep a check on your cholesterol levels.
• Skin and hair-related problems: Hair loss, skin acne, rashes, growth of facial hair, etc., some side- effects that steroids may leave on your skin and hair. However, these are temporary effects and may reverse when the drug consumption is ceased.
• Sleeping disorders: Sleeping troubles like insomnia, anxiety, night sweats, snoring, or excitation are the primary side- effects that occur in people on a dosage of steroids.
• Resistance to other medications: The biggest disadvantage of consuming steroids lies in the fact that once you start consuming these steroids, your body develops resistance to other medications since these drugs are extremely strong in nature.
• Muscle cramps: Muscle cramps are another common problem that may occur in the body of people on a dose of steroids.
• High blood pressure: High blood pressure, as caused by every anabolic steroid, is another side- effect of steroids. Thus, get your blood pressure timely checked while on a dose of these drugs.
Steroids must not be taken in high doses, and, if side- effects persist, one must stop the consumption of these drugs. Do not stop the dosage immediately, since the body gets habitual to them. Thus, stop the consumption of these drugs by decreasing the dose in small amounts over a considerable period of time.