HYDERABAD: With four deaths of boys aged 20 to 25 years in the last six months, we decide to educate you all about the side effects of steroids and its abuse. The quick and dirty route to gaining strength is to take some kind of anabolic steroid. These drugs actually trick the body into building up muscle mass and endurance — but they can also age you far beyond your years.
Anabolic steroids work because they masquerade as one of the body’s basic hormones: testosterone.
People who abuse anabolic steroids usually take them orally or inject them into the muscles. These doses may be 10 to 100 times higher than doses prescribed to treat medical conditions. Steroids are also applied to the skin as a cream, gel, or patch.
Anabolic Steroid Side Effects:
Inhibition of natural hormones:
The inhibition of natural hormones is likely the most common and probable side effect experienced from the use of anabolic steroids. In almost all cases, taking hormones will send a message to your endocrine system to reduce or stop producing it. This is because your body wants to remain in a very balanced state -- called ‘homeostasis’.
To maintain homeostasis, the body seeks to avoid having too much or too little of any particular hormone. In the case of anabolic steroids, the brain signals the testicles to slow down, or even stop producing (depending on the type and amount of steroids taken) testosterone when there is too much circulating.
Steroid effects on cholesterol (blood lipid profile):
Steroids can lower HDL cholesterol, and raise LDL cholesterol. HDL (high density lipoprotein, commonly referred to as “good cholesterol”) helps to protect the arteries by bringing unused cholesterol to the liver where it is broken down. LDL on the other hand has the opposite effect. Some steroids can therefore cause high cholesterol levels with low HDL and high LDL.
Gynocomastia (development of breast tissue in males):
The development of gynecomastia or feminisation of the breast tissue in males is possible with anabolic steroids. This is due to an excess of estrogen being present in the body, through a process known as “aromatisation” whereby androgens like testosterone are converted to estrogen.
This excess estrogen then finds its way to the receptors in breast tissue and binds to them. This results in the possibility of female-like breast tissue, which must sometimes be removed by surgery.
Acne and Anabolic Steroids
Anabolic steroids can cause the development of acne. However, the extent to which it is experienced can be due to a number of varying factors, with the particular steroids and exact dosages used being primary.
The skin´s sebaceous glands have a particularly high affinity to Dihydrotestosterone, which is an androgen the body naturally produces from testosterone via the enzyme 5-alpha Reductase. Increased sebaceous gland activity promotes oily skin which can combine with bacteria and dead skin (normal wear and tear) eventually causing pores to become clogged more quickly than the body can cleanse them.
Cardiovascular problems from anabolic Steroids:
Anabolic steroids have been linked with cardiovascular issues. Part of this may be due to their effects on Blood Lipids. But some of it is due to the fact that many steroid users have been found to have enlarged ventricles. This is actually very common in bodybuilders as well as powerlifters and other types of athletes, and is more indicative of the effect of weight training on the heart, rather than solely steroid use.
High Blood Pressure:
This problem is possibly the most easily remedied of all steroid side effects. The typical water and sodium retention induced by certain steroids can also contribute to this side effect. If blood pressure is measured regularly to ensure that the value is not higher than 140/90, there should be no problems.
Certain anabolic steroid usage may place greater strain on the kidneys. Since kidneys are involved in the filtration and excretion processes, when a foreign substance is administered, they necessarily work harder. Some steroid users have noticed very dark urine while on a cycle, and this is indicative of the kidneys working overtime to accomplish their goal. One of the major offenders of this seems to be Trenbolone, which turns the user’s urine a very dark color. This problem is alleviated when enough water is consumed daily.