Steroids are prescription-only drugs due to their potency, their potential for misuse and abuse, and their ability to affect a number of body systems.
Understanding steroids functions in general is important for anyone who is considering steroid use, whether a doctor prescribes them or you’re obtaining them illegally.
What do steroids do? Understand how steroids work in the body, and what steroids can do to your body.
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How do steroids work? It depends on what kind of steroid. Corticosteroids are often used in the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.
Corticosteroids are manufactured by the body – more specifically in the adrenal cortex of the adrenal glands, located on top of each of the kidneys.
However, sometimes, the body doesn’t produce adequate levels of corticosteroids to have an effect on a certain conditions such as asthma or rheumatoid arthritis.
In such cases, corticosteroids may be prescribed and taken orally, inhaled, or injected.
Prescription or synthetic corticosteroids are designed to resemble the hormone cortisol.
Corticosteroid hormones can affect not only the immune system and its functions, but the metabolism. They work by reducing inflammatory responses.
Anabolic steroids, often called anabolic-androgenic steroids or AAS, basically affect the strength of muscles and can increase endurance and stamina, as well as the production of testosterone in the body.
Anabolic steroids are a derivative of the male hormone testosterone and produce similar effects, often greatly exaggerated depending on dosage and frequency of injections.
What do steroids do when used appropriately and under a doctor’s supervision?
They can adequately treat and reduce severity of symptoms of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. They can increase sperm production, impact strengthening capabilities, and increase muscle mass.
Such treatments are beneficial for individuals with low testosterone levels or for those diagnosed with muscle-wasting syndrome (cachexia) often related to HIV, AIDS, or some cancers.
Steroids, especially anabolic steroids that are not used under a doctor’s oversight, can contribute to a number of negative effects on the body.
When asking what do steroids do to your body, be aware that steroids can affect numerous body systems, even the brain.
Steroids, more commonly known as steroid hormones, can affect the brain.
Steroid hormones can influence the responsiveness and development of neurons in the brain and throughout the central nervous system.
Natural steroid hormones (endogenous or body-produced) include testosterone, estrogen, and cortisone. They bind to neurons, where they trigger short and some long-term changes in the activity of neurons.
In some cases, long-term use of prescription corticosteroids such as Prednisone can contribute to excessive levels of hormones in the body.
Steroids have also been linked to an increased potential for developing cardiovascular disease and disorders, as well as increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol levels that can increase the risk for heart attack or stroke.
In addition, another recent study has determined that systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure can dramatically increase depending on the duration of steroid misuse and abuse.
Studies are now focusing on the potential long-term effects of steroid abuse and use, even years after the drug has been discontinued.
One article, “Chronic anabolic androgenic steroid usage associated with acute coronary syndrome in body builder,” is a case in point.
It involves a 32-year-old who had been taking anabolic steroids for approximately three years for bodybuilding enhancement.
The individual displayed “significant” elevated cardiac markers and the potential for myocardial infarction.
What do steroids do to your body?
While beneficial for some under medical supervision, when it comes to non-medically supervised use of steroids, not much good, and the potential for cardiovascular dysfunction is a very real and serious side effect.
Another study involving 45 bodybuilders, of which roughly 20 had misused anabolic steroids for approximately five years, also showed some impairment of cardiac function in relation to systolic and diastolic blood pressure and negative effects to the myocardium (heart muscle tissue).
The benefits or drawback of any steroid and how it is used can have an impact on whether a steroid is considered beneficial or detrimental to health.
Before taking steroids for medical or nonmedical reasons, learn how steroids work in the body depending on your reason for using them.
Be aware that even for bodybuilding or increased athletic performance, steroids also require adequate exercise, specific types of exercise, increased intensity of exercise, as well as a nutritious and balanced diet to provide optimal results.
What do steroids do? The simple answer is – a lot. Steroids have a huge impact on numerous body systems and functions.
Steroids that behave as hormones cannot only impact other hormones and their functions, but the balance of hormones in the body that have an affect physical, emotional, and mental health and wellness.