Dangers Associated With Anabolic Steroids by Mike Westerdal of CriticalBench.com
This term refers to the process of building up. Steroids are called anabolic because they build up your muscles.
It is a fact that today's bodybuilding arena is influenced by the use of anabolic steroids. The trend has become more and more apparent over the years. The use and abuse has become so wide spread that we can no longer afford to ignore the topic. Whether you feel strongly for or against the use of steroids is your own decision. However before making any decision it is your responsibility to fully educate yourself with the facts. Here is an analogy. A parent may not feel comfortable talking to their kids about sex for the first time but they can't continue to avoid the topic. Simply because a parent talks to their children about sex doesn't mean that they want them to go out and have sex. Instead they are hoping that with the proper information they will be able to make an educated decision.
Until you can put yourself in someone else's position it is tough to know why they make the decisions they do. For example, if you are pro athlete and you have the opportunity to extend your career, or compete for a starting position perhaps you may be more likely to consider the alternative. You may call this an unfair advantage or cheating but where do we draw the line. People that use bodybuilding supplements have an unfair advantage over those that chose not to use them. Does that mean they are cheating as well? It is a very gray area and there doesn't seem to be a clear-cut right or wrong answers to many of the questions we ask ourselves. In some countries it is legal to take steroids. Does that mean it's ethically okay to use steroids in certain countries and not others? One could argue yes to that question. In the United States Steroids are illegal therefore it would be wrong to take them here. The debate could go on and on and I'm sure it will for many years to come.
One thing you can do is educate yourself about the possible dangers of steroid use. Most of the benefits are commonly known so this article will discuss the other side of the coin.
Dangers of Steroids
When prescribed and used correctly, steroids can be very beneficial for many people. Steroids are often used to control asthma or to improve the health of people with auto-immune disorders. When used without the supervision of a physician, steroids can be very dangerous substances that cause many mental and physical health problems. Understanding the risks involved with using steroids can be helpful in deciding whether or not to proceed with this dangerous habit.
There are two major types of steroids that can be taken by people looking to increase their muscle mass and enhance their athletic performance. Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones that are very close to the real hormones produced by the body. The most powerful one is testosterone. There are also steroidal supplements that contain DHEA and androstenedione. These steroids and supplements have become popular because they can help increase muscle mass by affecting the body the way that natural testosterone affects the body.
Steroids can cause mild or serious side effects. Some of the minor effects associated with steroid use are usually problems that can occur without the use of steroids and are associated with abnormal hormone levels. These minor side effects can include an increase in facial or body acne, hair loss, irritability, and dizziness. Steroid and supplement use can also cause very serious side effects that can be harmful in the short term and may even cause long-term side effects. Some of the side effects that can affect both men and women when taking steroids can be associated with several systems of the body. Some hormonal problems that can occur include premature balding and stunting of growth. Using steroids can cause cardiac issues such as rapid heartbeat and hypertension that causes permanent damage to the body's blood vessels. The urinary system can also be affected by steroids and difficulty urinating can be a result.
The risk of developing heart disease, strokes, and some types of cancer is also increased when steroids are used when not needed to manage medical conditions. Digestive problems such as nausea and vomiting can start when the body is subjected to the use of steroids or steroidal supplements. Other medical problems that can result from the use of steroids are sleeplessness, trembling, achy joints, a greater risk of injury to muscles and tendons, liver damage, and skin jaundice. Some of the most startling problems associated with the use of steroids are the psychological problems that are created. Steroid use can cause paranoia, seeing things that don't exist, severe mood swings, anger, and depression.
There are also gender-specific side effects of using steroids or steroidal supplements. Men can experience painful urination, shrinking of the testicles, impotence, sterility, and the development of breasts and other female characteristics. Women can also experience side effects from using steroids and supplements. These side effects include changes in the menstrual cycle, shrinking of the breasts, deepening of the voice, and increased facial hair growth. While taking steroids and steroidal supplements can have a positive short-term effect on muscle mass and athletic performance, the dangerous side effects make steroids a poor choice for gaining strength. A good diet and exercise program would be a much better way to increase performance and would also improve health.
In closing I'd like to share a Critical Bench Web site poll from 2003. 509 votes were tallied and the results were as followed.
We asked how you felt anabolic steroids and received the following results.
1. Best thing since sliced bread 10%
2. Worth a try 20%
3. Impartial 19%
4. They are for losers 51%