When prescribed by a doctor and used according to instructions, steroids can help treat some medical conditions. But abusing steroids as a short-cut to building muscle or improving athletic performance, has dangerous side effects.
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What is it?
Steroids are a class of drugs used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. Estrogen and cortisone are some of the hormones in this class. Anabolic steroids are designed to imitate the hormone testosterone. Anabolic steroids are designed for medical use only, and to treat conditions like hypogonadism, delayed puberty and impotence. Anabolic steroids have a high potential for abuse, and only a very small number are approved for human and animal use in the U.S.
When you’re young and your body is still developing, the effects of steroids can be dangerous and unattractive, and they can also be permanent. Males can get shrunken testicles, develop breasts and lose hair. For females, it can stop your menstrual cycle, may cause excessive body and facial hair, leave you with male-pattern baldness and decrease your breast size.
Steroids can also make you irritable, hostile and aggressive, and cause you to develop severe acne.
Abusing steroids while you’re still growing can cause a range of physical changes, including stunting your height permanently. But the long—term effects are not just superficial. Steroid use can lead to high blood pressure, an increased risk of blood clotting and increases in LDL (bad cholesterol)—all three combined are a recipe for heart failure.
The Bottom Line
In addition to the more unattractive risks of steroid use – opposite-sex characteristics, hair loss, excessive body hair – you’re also risking your long-term health.Sources
- Drug Enforcement Administration. Anabolic Steroids: Hidden Dangers Steroid Abuse. View Source