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  • They've caused global scandals.

  • They're banned in most athletic competitions.

  • But are steroids actually bad for you?

  • The termsteroidsrefers to a broad category of molecules

  • that share a similar molecular structure,

  • but have many different functions.

  • When people talk about steroids in the context of sports,

  • they're referring to a subset of steroids that resemble testosterone.

  • Though elite athletes and bodybuilders began using these steroids in the 1950s,

  • today, most steroid users are actually not competitive athletes,

  • but people seeking a particular appearance.

  • These steroids have two main effects: androgenic, or masculinizing,

  • and anabolic, or growth-promoting.

  • These effects mimic naturally-occurring testosterone,

  • which drives the development and maintenance

  • of male secondary sex characteristics and general growth in everyone.

  • That means testosterone and the synthetic steroids based on it

  • promote body and facial hair growth, enlargement of the vocal cords

  • and deepening of the voice, increased muscle mass and strength,

  • and increased stature and bone mass.

  • Recreational steroid users are after the anabolic, growth promoting effects.

  • To make muscles grow, steroids first promote protein synthesis

  • proteins are essential building blocks of all cells, tissues, and organs,

  • including muscles.

  • Steroids also block cortisol,

  • a signaling molecule that drives the breakdown of substances

  • including proteins.

  • Finally, they may push the development of muscle, rather than fat,

  • and boost our metabolism, shrinking fat deposits.

  • These properties make steroids valuable for treating many illnesses and injuries.

  • They can help people with wasting illnesses,

  • like AIDS and certain cancers,

  • maintain muscle mass and help burn victims recover lost muscle tissue.

  • So if steroids are used as medicine,

  • they must be safe to use recreationally, right?

  • Well, it's not that simple.

  • To create the desired muscle growth,

  • recreational steroid users must typically take doses orders of magnitude higher

  • than those prescribed for a medical condition.

  • Long term, high dose steroid usage can have both undesirable

  • and outright harmful effects

  • some of them dependent on factors like age, sex,

  • and underlying health conditions.

  • We're not sure what all the risk factors are,

  • but we do know recreational steroid use is particularly risky for adolescents.

  • During puberty, steroid use can prompt bones to mature

  • before they're done growing, causing growth defects.

  • Adolescents are also most at risk

  • for the harmful psychiatric effects of steroid use.

  • The most common of these, increased impulsivity and increased aggression,

  • are well-known asroid rage.”

  • Up to 60% of users experience these effects.

  • But there are also less common,

  • more damaging psychiatric side effects like mania and even psychosis.

  • Steroid use can damage organs including the liver and kidneys,

  • and cause cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure.

  • While some or all of those effects may be reversible,

  • steroid use can also cause liver cancer, especially in males.

  • Though recreational users take steroids for their anabolic effects,

  • they also experience androgenic effectsoften undesired.

  • That can mean increased body hair, enlargement of the clitoris,

  • and permanent voice deepening in females.

  • At the same time, excess testosterone-like steroids can cause feminization in males,

  • because the body converts the excess into estrogen.

  • This can lead to breast development and shrinking testicles.

  • These effects are not uncommon

  • about a third of male steroid users experience them to some degree.

  • Excess steroid use can also reduce fertility in males and females

  • by reducing the sperm in semen or by causing missed periods and conditions

  • like polycystic ovary syndrome.

  • All these effects may be reversible if steroid use stopsbut they may not be.

  • The specific steroid, the duration of use,

  • and other factors could play a role in reversibility.

  • Finally, there's mounting evidence

  • that users are susceptible to steroid dependence.

  • They can develop tolerance and require increasingly large doses over time.

  • This increases the risk of harmful effects,

  • all of which are increasingly common at higher doses

  • taken for longer durations.

  • Still, there remains little definitive information

  • on how common and how reversible almost any of the harms are

  • at different levels of use.

  • We don't know enough, about either risk factors or exposure levels,

  • to definitively say any recreational steroid use will be harm-free.

They've caused global scandals.

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B2 steroid recreational growth testosterone muscle increased

How do steroids affect your muscles— and the rest of your body? - Anees Bahji

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/09
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