Know that anything that can affect hormone levels, metabolism, or protein synthesis in the body can cause a number of negative effects.
When misused and abused, yes, steroids are bad for you. But when used properly, under medical supervision, steroids can be beneficial. Before considering taking steroids for any reason, learn as much as you can about them.
Learn how they behave in the body and what they’re designed to do. Whenever possible, look to scientific research and clinical studies to determine efficacy – and safety.
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Steroids are often classified as two different types: corticosteroids and anabolic steroids.
Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones that are similar in their structure to the male hormone testosterone.
Corticosteroids are also synthetically manufactured, but are also produced by certain glands in the body’s adrenal cortex.
Corticosteroids are responsible for a variety of physiological processes in the body including response to stress, responses to environmental and external circumstances that kick our immune systems into gear, and are also vital components in protein catabolism,
the metabolism of carbohydrates, electrolyte levels, and inflammation processes in the body.
Anabolic steroids strengthen muscles, enhance protein synthesis, and often influence male/female sex characteristics.
The body does produce some anabolic steroids. These include endogenous (body-produced) testosterone as a sex hormone, and dihydrotestosterone that behave in a similar manner to testosterone.
Androgens are responsible for development of male sex organs and overall male sex characteristics such as body hair, facial hair, and deeper voice – and bigger muscles.
There is often some confusion regarding the difference between steroids and hormones. The fact is, many hormones in the body can function like a steroid and vice versa.
So if the body makes steroids, are steroids bad for you?
The body is usually more than capable of making sure that levels of endogenous steroids are within safe and effective ranges.
Just because the body produces many of these components doesn’t mean that it’s okay to inject additional hormones or steroids into the body to enhance their effect.
This is a common practice among athletes and bodybuilders seeking steroids to help with accelerated and sometimes quite impressive muscle gain, physical endurance, stamina, and performance.
When medically recommended, numerous types of steroids are used in the treatment of a number of medical scenarios.
Dosage recommendations and the type of steroid will depend on the reason for which it is used.
For example, steroids are often recommended to reduce weight loss and muscle loss (cachexia) in HIV/AIDS patients.
It may also be used in the treatment of some breast cancer situations for women, in delayed puberty for adolescent boys, or as a treatment for hypogonadism or impotence in men.
Steroids can become dangerous and contribute to a number of unexpected side effects and adverse reactions when used improperly.
That means purchasing them without a prescription and injecting in much higher doses than recommended for medical use.
Athletes in any sport, domestically and abroad, should be aware that anabolic steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs are banned.
Note – For a complete list of banned and prohibited substances in collegiate and professional sports associations and organizations, visit the website of the World Anti-Doping Agency or take a look at the now zero-tolerance policy by the International Olympic Committee.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, individuals use and abuse numerous types of steroids.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and demand for the drug has resulted in a number of black market resources and underground labs that smuggle the drug out of their countries or offer it for sale on the Internet.
Excessive levels of such substances in the body is dangerous enough to contribute to alarming side effects.
When combined with other components such as growth hormone and growth factors, some side effects are not only bad for you they can be life-threatening.
Development of cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart muscle), testicular atrophy, impotence, and possible liver and kidney damage are just a few concerns that medical health professionals have regarding illicit use of steroids.
Additional side effects associated with use of anabolic steroids include:
Psychological changes may also present with misuse and abuse of steroids that include irritability, mood swings, aggression, and for some, depression – often combined with suicidal tendencies.
Counterfeit products, steroids that contain bacteria, and steroids that are expired or contain questionable fillers and other drugs that you don’t know about can contribute to the increased risk of dangerous side effects.
Are steroids bad for you? Not always, such as when medically recommended and overseen by a physician, though side effects are still possible.
When used illegally and misused, yes, steroids can be bad for you in bodybuilding. Some of the side effects of illicit steroid use are temporary and may disappear when discontinued, but other ramifications may be permanent.