Most of us hear about performing enhancing drugs (PEDs or steroids) in the news as used by professional athletes. However, PEDs can be used in sports varying from baseball, wrestling, body building and football.
According to DrugFree, what steroids or human growth hormones do is strengthen not only the muscles, but bones and tendons as well. The drug is what allows an athlete to train at high effort for long without getting injured.
PEDs can come in pill form or injections and athletes are able to train on PEDs then cycle themselves off of the drug before a drug test but they still have the effects of it, according to Dr. Robert Truax. He says that the drugs enhance the training to bring it to a more intensive state and then when the athlete is able to get off the medicine and hope their training is better than it was before the medicine.
Although it may sound beneficial to be able to train longer and harder with less chance to injury, there are a lot of long term impacts that can severely damage someone’s health.
As state above, performance enhancing drugs help to strengthen muscle. Dr. Truax continues to explain how the heart is a muscle and our hearts are not designed to handle the amount of testosterone that steroids puts in the body. These steroids cause the heart to grow abnormally and can cause strokes and heart attacks in athletes as young as 30-years-old. Also according to drugabuse.gov, steroids increase the chance of blood clots
When the testosterone travels to the liver to break down, the liver accumulates the hormone and then the liver can be damaged as well. The liver can also develop a condition called peliosis hepatis which is when cysts filled with blood form inside the liver. When the cysts rupture, internal bleeding occurs.
Steroids are hormonal drugs so they also effect the hormonal system. One of the most common effects in men according to DrugAbuse.gov is shrinking of the testicles and reduced sperm count. This is something that can be reversed, however males can often experience balding and breast development which is irreversible. Women also can experience more body hair growth as well as their voice deepening and skin becoming coarse.
There are many risks that go beyond internal effects. Some of the most common effects of steroids are acne and cysts on the skin as well as oily hair and skin. Along with appearance, steroids can also bring on a shortened temper also known as “roid rage”. According to Michael Dhar, steroids are often linked to a bad temper because of the levels of testosterone in the body. Testosterone and aggression are clearly linked from studies. When injected the extra testosterone with steroids, the body’s chemicals change and these chemicals often target nerve cells which effect mood.
Although steroids have many poor effects, athletes still use them to train for many events in order to get more aggressive training in a short amount of time. Many spectators view using performance enhancing drugs as a way to cheat since they would not be able to perform as well without them, and this may be true. However many athletes are idolized by children and if they are using PEDs, it gives the message that it is okay to use drugs to enhance performance and that is the way to succeed. A lot of professional athletes are still using PEDs today and it is important to make sure that rules and regulations are up to date to make sure athletes are not using steroids for any parts of their training.
To participate in making sure that PEDs stay out of professional sports and there are longer penalties for those who abuse, visit here to sign a petition against steroids.