Steroids, what they are why people use them
SEC # 3
What are anabolic steroids? Anabolic steroids are a group molecules that include the male sex hormone testosterone and synthetic analogs of testosterone (Taylor,1991) Anabolic steroids are used by many people in sports today due to the rapid increase in muscle mass. Anabolic steroids are made synthetically and are very powerful. Recent evidence suggests that there may be over 3,000,000 regular anabolic steroid users in the United States and most of these users buy there steroids illegally (Taylor,1991) I am interested in finding out more about steroids and its effects.
Steroids are used in veterinary medicine. They are used in meat production, to increase muscle in cattle which produces lean beef, and they are given to show horses, racehorses, and race dogs to increase their muscle mass. People today are abusing the use of anabolic steroids. Though intended for people who have just had surgery or may be sick to get them strong, healthy people, mainly athletes, who simply want to promote muscle growth, often use the drug. On the streets steroids are known as “juice” or “roids”. The history of steroid use dates back to the late 1930s. Steroids were first developed in World War 2, the German army reportedly gave anabolic steroids to their soldiers to make them more aggressive in war. After the war, doctors in Europe and the United States frequently used steroids to treat anemia – a blood disorder – and malnutrition, and helped recover more quickly from operations. By the late 1940s, bodybuilders in Eastern Europe were taking testosterone in various forms. In the 1950s, athletes used anabolic steroids to improve their performance in international competition. In 1956, American doctor John B. Zieglar worked with a drug company to produce anabolic steroids in the United States. Professional athletes particularly football players began using anabolic steroids as early as the 1960s. The health dangers of anabolic steroids were not yet recognized, and athletes obtained steroids from team doctors.
When state laws were passed against steroids in the 1960s a black market or illegal trade began for steroids. Steroids eventually found their way into school level athletic programs at both college and high school levels.
Most steroid users are not thinking about whether they might be harming their body or not. There are many health consequences of steroid use. There is liver toxicity, infertility, heart disease, and Prostate problems just to name a few. Some physical and side effects of steroid use are things like hair loss, nose bleeds, acne, high blood pressure. Long lasting side effects are things like higher tolerance for pain increased or lowered sex drive, sterility, impotence, increased appetite, and insomnia. In male users anabolic steroids can cause the penis to enlarge and the testicles to shrink (Yesalis, et al.,1998)
The permanent irreversible physical side effects of steroid use are much more serious. Anabolic steroids can increase the levels of fat in the blood; users are at risk of heart attacks and other heart problems. Steroids can cause kidney disease, Jaundice, Peliosis Hepatis, and liver Tumors. But steroids that build those muscles can lead to lowered self-esteem, depression, and inability to think clearly, and lack of energy. Medical researchers are also looking at the connection between testosterone and the increase hostility and the potential for violence at high levels. Recently, data from a nationwide study confirmed prior studies and demonstrated a strong association between anabolic steroid use and self-acknowledged acts of violence against people and crimes against property (Yesalis et al., 1998)
The health risks that go along with the use of steroids may stop some people from using them. They are also illegal in the United States without a prescription. Penalties for steroid use can resolve in fines or imprisonment. There are even penalties for doctors who give anabolic steroids to athletes solely to improve their athletic skill. Until the late 1980s, doctors were the primary source of the drugs for more than a third of the users in the United States. Today, less then 10 percent of steroid users obtain their drugs by prescription (Taylor,1982) Which caused the need for drug testing for athletes.
Drug testing has spread through all different sports from baseball to football. Like all substances taken into the body, anabolic steroids are broken down and changed in the body. This process makes it difficult to find anabolic steroids in the original form. There for when drug test are given for sporting events the drug tester looks for metabolites. The distinctive patters that are formed in these metabolites are like fingerprints in that they are unique and can be matched with the known metabolic signature pattern. Each IOC-accredited laboratory maintains an extensive library of these metabolite patterns (Goldman, 1955) The history of drug testing all started in the Olympic Winter Games in 1968. Accurate testing didn’t start until the Summer Olympic Games of 1976.
Steroids are not instant muscles. Just because you take steroids does not mean that you will increase in muscle size. There are more effective ways of increasing you physique and keep from harming your body. Steroids are to be used only in the medical field for helping patients who need the help. People who are using steroids should be more aware of what is going to happen to their body in the long term.
Goldman B. Et,al., (1984) Death in the Locker room, Icarus Press South Blend, Indiana p76
Taylor W. (1982). Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete, McFarland ; Company, Inc., Publishers p3
Taylor W. (1991). Macho Medicine, McFarland ; Company, Inc., Publishers p1,78
Yesalis C. Et, al., (1998) The Steroids Game, Cowart and Associates p31,53,58